You would think the EUROTRASH desk would be quiet in the middle of November… but no, business as usual! Oleg Tinkov and Bjarne Riis are sniping at each other – Top Story. Other cycling news: The UCI will have 18 teams in the WorldTour, Lars van der Haar out injured, Fabio Aru for Giro and Vuelta in 2017, Sky Sign Jon Dibben, young talent for LottoNl-Jumbo, Ruben Fernández crashes again, Sérgio Paulinho down to Conti level, Leonardo Duque to retire, Paris Velon Revolution cancelled, Alberto Volpi for Bahrain Merida, AG2R-La Mondiale 2017 roster, no Giro for RAI and no Tour for Portsmouth. Coffee time.
TOP STORY: The Riis/Tinkov Battle Continues!
When Oleg Tinkov bought the company that ran the Tinkoff cycling team from previous owner, Bjarne Riis, all looked sunny. That was only the start of the battle. Riis was kept on as team manager until the pair didn’t see eye to eye and Riis was gone. Some say sacked, Riis says by mutual agreement. Then it all went quiet between the Danish/Russian couple.
Then Riis announced his return to cycling and the backbiting reared its ugly head. In an interview with newspaper Ekstra Bladet, the Dane said: “It’s a long time since I’ve had something to say when it comes to the team, but it is sad to note that it is now just gone. The sad part is that everything I built up over a period of 15 years was broken down in such a short time. Many times I have asked myself about what happened. I have no answer, and it no longer means anything to me. I have long since moved on.”
Tinkov was less than understanding of the Danes position: “I guess it is hard to understand the nature of capitalism, growing up in socialistic Denmark,” Tinkov told CyclingNews. “Riis must know that once ownership has changed, the new owner can do whatever with his property. I bought the toy, played with it, and did it in my way, so it is weird to hear these complaints. He used my money that I paid him to buy a chalet in the Swiss Alps, and most likely has refurbished it in his way, and it would be strange if the previous owner were complaining about its new style.”
Riis may say he has moved on, but he couldn’t leave the subject alone: “It has been a very big part of my and my family’s life. It was my training as a leader and businessman, so it does of course hurt to see it disintegrate. I really hadn’t imagined that Oleg would buy the team to close it. It certainly was not my intention when I sold the team that it should be shut down. On the contrary. I’ve been chasing all these years to create the optimum team. It was my desire to run a team of Sky’s level, where I could have optimized everything down to the smallest detail but I just never had the funding.”
Tinkov is not pleased with the return of Riis to the World of Pro cycling: “I never said that before, but if he opens up the discussion, I should say that people like Riis, Bruyneel and Vaughters must be banned out of cycling for life. They not only highly promoted doping, but also materially benefit from it. I see this as a crime, actually. Pity that such a people are getting back into my sport.”
As to Riis’s thoughts on why he was ousted from the team: “I think it was envy. I enjoyed the respect of the riders and the other employees. Respect is something you have to deserve. It’s something you build up over years. It is not something you buy. I still absolutely do not understand why it went so wrong. I come from a world where people talk about things if there’s a problem arise but it was impossible. Eventually I had enough and I asked for our agreement to be ended. I was not fired, although the journalists like to write it. Oleg’s biggest mistake was to remove the philosophy I’d instilled in the team and do away with the way I ran the team. I don’t think he’d thought through what it meant to change the team that way. Without me was the team’s just a team like any other.”
Tinkov’s last word on the subject: “I’m tired of it all.” For sure this won’t be the Russian’s last word!
Eighteen Teams for UCI WorldTour
The 2017 UCI WorldTour will include 18 teams, if their applications are passed by the UCI Licensing Commission. This will be good news for Dimension Data, Bahrain Merida, Bora-Hansgrohe and the new TJ Sport team (Lampre replacement).
The 18 WorldTour teams will receive two year licenses and the races in the WorldTour will have three year licenses, although the WorldTour teams will not be obliged to race in the new WorldTour races added to the 2017 calendar. The new races on the calendar are: Amgen Tour of California, Tour of Qatar, Abu Dhabi Tour and Tour of Turkey, and one-day races Dwars door Vlaanderen, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, Prudential RideLondon, Eschborn-Frankfurt and Strade Bianche. The new races will have to negotiate with the teams they want to ride their event.
Van der Haar Injury Update
Lars van der Haar (Giant-Alpecin) pulled out of the Superprestige cyclocross race in Ruddervoorde last Sunday complaining of pains in the left thigh. After medical checks in Holland, the team’s medical staff have ruled out any competition for Van der Haar for the foreseeable future.
Giant-Alpecin Dr. Anko Boelens explained: “After a first check-up at the hospital after the race, the initial scans indicated that Lars had suffered a muscle injury. Further medical examinations through an MRI scan revealed a tear in his left rectus femoris muscle. The average recovery time for such an injury is around 12 weeks. Although we hope that Lars’ current minor discomforts are signs of a prosperous recovery. He will now commence his rehabilitation program.”
Lars van der Haar added: “It’s very disappointing to have another setback. I have worked extremely hard to get back to a good level and to get a new injury is very hard to accept. I have mixed emotions, after finding out the full extent of the injury. I will remain positive because I want to get better again, but I feel quite tired at the moment.”
Aru for Giro and Vuelta in 2017
The Astana team have confirmed that Fabio Aru will ride the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España in 2017, looking to win the Italian Grand Tour and repeat his 2015 overall win in Spain. The Kazakh team will rely on Jakob Fuglsang and Miguel Angel Lopez in the Tour de France.
With the 2017 Giro d’Italia starting on Aru’s home island of Sardinia, it was always likely that Aru would be on the start line. The Astana team made this statement after their end of year meeting in Astana: “It became known that the main goal of the team will be the Giro d’Italia, a Grand Tour where Fabio Aru, an Italian captain of the team, will go on his marks. The sports directors are planning to appoint Jakob Fuglsang, a silver medalist of the last Olympiad and Miguel Angel Lopez, a Colombian rider, as the captains at the Tour de France. As for the Vuelta a España, according to preliminary information, Fabio Aru will once again go on his marks.”
Astana general manager Alexander Vinokourov summed up the 2016 season: “I think we had a successful season. We won a Grand Tour with Vincenzo Nibali and won a large number of victories in other races. Especially pleasant fact is that seven victories were won by our Kazakhstani riders.”
There will be changes in the team for 2017, Giordana will be supplying the newly designed clothing and the bike will be Argon 18. The official team presentation will be in Astana on December 11, which is also the 25th anniversary of Kazakh independence.
Sky Sign Dibben
The 22 year old British rider joins team Sky after an impressive year where he won the World points race and the European U23 points race on the track, 2nd in the U23 Ronde van Vlaanderen, 9th in the U23 World road race and a good showing int the Tour de l’Avenir.
Dibben said of his move to the WorldTour team: “It’s very exciting. It’s going to be a big change and obviously a big step up, going from Team WIGGINS and an academy which is very track-focused, to go into the biggest cycling team in the world. It’s certainly a large step up and it’s a great opportunity to get into the big leagues and see what it’s all about. Obviously I know Owain and Tao – they are two of my best mates – so it’s good that we’re all joining the team together. It’s certainly a whole new environment and a different lifestyle. It’s a big change and it’s something I’m looking forward to. I’ve come across the team at training camps and I’ve ridden against the team at races like the Tour of Britain. They are a team who deliver with the results that they get and they get a lot of respect in the bunch. They do their own thing and they do it well. It’s a privilege really to be joining the team. I think on the road it was a really good year. I hit the ground running at my first couple of races in April. I targeted (under-23) Flanders and that went well. And then once Olympic track selection was made I then really focused back in on the road, and under-23 races like the Tour de l’Avenir and the road worlds. Maybe at the worlds I didn’t get exactly the results that I wanted to but it was the first time I’d had a consistent block on the road. I really enjoyed it and it certainly made me feel that this was what I wanted to do for the next few years, and to commit 100 percent to the road. Looking towards the future will be a big target in 2017 and I’m excited to start participating in the races. Your main job as a pro is just to be on it from January to November – the whole year you need to be consistently good. So it’s just getting used to that constant high level, rather than this year where I had my targets and I went in as a team leader. Next year will be much more about learning how the pro racers ride, and the volume of racing I imagine will step up to double if not more. So it will be about getting used to that.”
Norwegian talent Amund Grøndahl Jansen signs for Team LottoNL-Jumbo
Team LottoNL-Jumbo will strengthen its 2017 forces with Norwegian Amund Grøndahl Jansen. The U23 national champion will leave Norwegian Team Joker, where he developed as a classics rider with a good sprint. Team LottoNL-Jumbo wants to continue to improve in this area.
“I’m definitely not a climber, I’m a sprinter and a classics rider,” Jansen said.”I hope to develop myself in the spring classics with the help of the experienced men in the team.”
Jansen broke through this season when he won the U23 Roompot ZLM Tour, a stage race in the Netherlands. He also won the overall classification of the Tour de Gironde and a stage in the Tour de l’Avenir, which gave him the leader’s jersey for three days. He closed the year with a fifth place in the Under 23 World Championship.
Now he makes the step from a continental level to a WorldTour team. “I’m very curious about this Dutch adventure,” said Jansen. “From the first moment I had contact with the team, I knew I’d be able to settle in well. As in Scandinavia, the team is very familiar. The Dutch culture is much closer to ours than the French, Spanish or Italian culture.”
He is studying Dutch to ease the transition. “It’s a tricky language, though it seems much like the Norwegian. The problem is mainly that we use the same words for different things. That makes it difficult.” He will be able to practice in Girona, Spain, where he lives with his new team-mates Alexey Vermeulen and Robert Gesink.
Technical Director Nico Verhoeven followed Amund Grøndahl Jansen over the last years. “We had close contact with his Norwegian team about his development,” Verhoeven said. “He fits in our team because we want to develop young talents to the top.
“Amund has a good sprint in his legs and can definitely handle the spring classics. We want to continue to work on these aspects with him. Also, he will be a good addition in the sprint train and in the classics team to support our leaders.”
Amund Grøndahl Jansen finishes the World’s Under 23 TT:
More Bad Luck for Ruben Fernández
Movistar’s Ruben Fernández crashed while training on Tuesday near his home in Murcia, Spain and had broken his jaw and lost a few teeth. He didn’t lose consciousness and was taken to the local hospital. The Movistar team say he was blown from the bike and landed in a ditch. The Morales Meseguer hospital, Murcia confirmed that Fernández has a broken jaw and several missing teeth and will stay in hospital for observations before surgery on the fracture.
Fernández crashed in Milan-Turin in September breaking a collar bone, but the Movistar team signed a contract extension to the end of 2019. He is said to be a big hope for the future after winning the Tour de l’Avenir and holding the 2016 Vuelta a España leaders jersey for a stage, before helping Nairo Quintana to the overall victory.
Still No Contracts for Petrov and Tosatto
With the news that Sérgio Paulinho will be racing for Portuguese Continental team, Efapel, in 2017, this only leaves Evngeny Petrov and Matteo Tosatto out of contract. Paulinho has signed a one-year contract with Efapel, he has ridden at WorldTour level since 2002.
There has been no rumors or solid news concerning Evngeny Petrov and Matteo Tosatto’s future.
Leonardo Duque to Retire
Leonardo Duque has announced that he will retire at the end of the Tour of Taihu Lake. The 36-year-old Colombian, who is now French, is at the moment riding the Chinese race, but will not race after the final stage. He told Cyclism’Actu: “This is the right time to turn the page, this is my last race, on Saturday I will hang up my bike. I made the decision to quit myself. I have been in contact with several teams, but it is not my thing to ride only to get a salary.”
Duque turned pro for Cofidis in 2006 and rode for them for seven season, then moved to Team Columbia for three before returning to the French team Delko Marseille Provence KTM for his final season. Duque won a stage of the 2007 Vuelta a España and seven other victories. He finished all the thirteen Grand Tours he started.
Paris Velon Revolution Cancelled
The Velon Revolution Champions League in Paris has been canceled. The track meeting was scheduled for the 18th and 19th of November, followed by the Champions League race in Manchester (November 25-26) and London (December 2-3). According to one source, the ticket sales for the track race in Paris was poor. It is also claimed there were ‘logistics’ problems.
Velon brought twelve teams to the Revolution Champions League, eight of them from the WorldTour. The Manchester and London races are planned to go ahead.
Revolution website HERE.
Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team announces Alberto Volpi as one of the Sports Directors
Wednesday, 9th November 2016 – Italian Sports Director, Alberto Volpi has signed to be one of the Sports Directors in Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team.
Alberto Volpi, born 1962 was a professional cyclist from 1984 to 1997. He has been involved in the world of professional cycling almost all his life. After his professional career as a rider he stayed tightly connected with his favorite sport and became a sports director. So far he worked for seven different teams and gained valuable experiences.
Brent Copeland, General Manager of the Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team said about Alberto Volpi as one of the Sports Directors in the new team: “Alberto has an immense amount of experience in the cycling world, both as a top pro cyclist as well as a sports director, we are very pleased that he took this decision to join our team, Alberto has worked in many different teams with many different nationalities of riders and staff and has experience of how to work with both young and mature riders from Africa, GCC, USA as well as Europe, this is a big quality for a sports director as he has the knowledge of mixing different mentalities and cultures which is of great importance in todays cycling world, our team has 12 different nationalities and this is the reason of having such an important sports director in the team.”
After signing the contract Alberto commented: “I’m really proud and happy to be part of this new project, I would like to thank the managing staff for this opportunity and the trust they’re giving me. This is going to be a pleasure to be able to come back working with colleagues, athletes and staff member I already had the opportunity to work with.”
In addition to Duval, there are nine other new signings. Christophe Riblon has extended his contract for another year, his 13th with the team. The team will meet for a first training camp from November 14 to 18 at the Vaujany resort in the Massif de l’Oisans (Isère).
AG2R-La Mondiale 2017 roster:
Gediminas Bagdonas (LTU), Jan Bakelants (Bel), Romain Bardet (Fra), Julien Bérard (Fra), François Bidard (Fra), Mikaël Chérel (Fra), Nico Denz (Ger), Axel Domont (Fra), Samuel Dumoulin (Fra), Hubert Dupont (Fra), Ben Gastauer (Lux), Cyril Gautier (Fra), Alexis Gougeard (Fra), Hugo Houle (Can), Quentin Jauregui (Fra), Pierre Latour (Fra), Matteo Montaguti (Ita), Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita), Christophe Riblon (Fra), Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra).
Rudy Barbier (Fra), Clément Chevrier (Fra), Benoit Cosnefroy (from August 1st), Julien Duval (Fra), Sondre Holst Enger (Nor), Mathias Frank (Sui), Alexandre Geniez (Fra), Oliver Naesen (Bel), Nans Peters (Fra), Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel).
No more RAI Sport Coverage for the Giro?
The Giro d ‘Italia might not be broadcast by the Italian public TV station in the future, if RCS (Giro organizers) president, Urbano Cairo, sells the option to another TV company for more cash. The rumor is that Cairo has had a very good offer from Discovery Channel, but he is holding out for the best offer. The Giro wants to get nearer the revenue that the Tour de France receives for broadcasting rights, not only at home, but also abroad.
First: The file setting out the business plan for financial help from the British Government has not be received by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport, although the Flick Drummond MP says it was sent before September.
Secondly: British Cycling are not fully behind the bid due to it being held on the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings. ASO, the Tour organizers said, “Portsmouth is very interested in hosting the 2019 Tour de France Grand Depart, but I don’t know how the candidacy is going since British Cycling seems to not to be behind it. There are several other candidates, in France or in another countries but nothing is decided yet.”
The Tour made its first visit to the United Kingdom, with a circuit stage on the Plympton By-pass, near Plymouth in 1974. The next visit was in 1994 also on the south coast, then in 2007 the Grand Depart was in London. But probably the highlight of the Tour visits to Britain would be in 2014 when the race started in Leeds with three stages.
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