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EuroTrash Cyclo-Cross Monday!

Winter Monday’s are made for watching cyclo-cross video and reading the results and race reports. We also have all the latest cycling news: Rabottoni positive, US & Spanish teams, WorldTour for IAM, no Tour for VDB, new bikes for Cult Energy, OPQS training and Cannondale say ‘Good-Bye Peter’. Coffee?

TOP STORY: Rabottini is Positively Positive
La Gazzetta dello Sport has announced that the analysis of the ‘B’ sample, carried out in the Cologne anti-doping laboratory, has confirmed that Matteo Rabottini has tested positive for EPO. In an out of competition test on August the 8th, Rabottini tested positive for EPO, the test was confirmed positive (‘A’ sample) by the UCI on the 12th of September as he was about to ride the World championships for the Italian National team.

Rabottini was suspended from racing by the Neri Sottoli team, but denied taking EPO and stated that his UCI Biological Passport showed no anomalies, but now that the Cologne laboratory has confirmed the positive he will face a disciplinary hearing and should receive the minimum two year ban.

Yet another doping case for the Neri Sottoli team which has been banned for a year by the Mouvement Pour un Cyclisme Crédible (MPCC). This is the teams’ third case in just over a year; Mauro Santambrogio in the 2013 Giro d’Italia, Danilo Di Luca was riding in the Giro when it was announced that he failed an out of competition test taken on the 29th of April. One wonders if La Gazzetta dello Sport will make as much noise about Nerri Sottoli as they have about Astana.

Rabottini in the Giro dell’Emilia:
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header-zilvermeerZilvermeercross 2014
Sunday’s race in Zilvermeer was won by Wout Van Aert (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace) ahead of Saturday’s second; Laurens Sweeck (Corendon-KwadrO) and third; Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea).

Laurens Sweeck was the hero of the day taking the lead halfway through the race and being chased by Van Aert, Saturday’s winner Mathieu van der Poel (BKCP-Powerplus Cycling Team), Meeusen and Corné Van Kessel (Telenet-Fidea), Rob Peeters (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace), German champion Philipp Walsleben (BKCP-Powerplus) and Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games). Van Aert pulled Sweeck back and then tried to split the field himself, but it was Meeusen who managed to escape through the sand section and the jumps.

Again Van Aert was the strong chaser and dragged van der Poel up to Meeusen. Walsleben and Sweeck caught the others to have five up front. Sweeck and Walsleben were next to attack and fail, but Sweeck kept attacking and eventually managed to get the gap. Van Aert was again the main chaser with Peeters just be hind and Meeusen, Walsleben, van der Poel and Bart Aernouts (Corendon-KwadrO) further back.

With over a lap to go; Van Aert crossed to Sweeck and they powered on towards the finish. Sweeck lost van Aert’s wheel when he had to run and van Aert rode. Van Aert had a good lead going into the last lap and held in to the finish. Meeusen escaped from the chase group for third place.

Zilvermeercross Result:
1. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace in 1:01:05
2. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Corendon-KwadrO at 0:24
3. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea at 0:35
4. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) BKCP-Powerplus at 0:42
5. Rob Peeters (Bel) Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace
6. Bart Aernouts (Bel) Corendon-KwadrO 0:49
7. Corné Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet-Fidea at 1:01
8. Philipp Walsleben (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus at 1:04
9. Jens Adams (Bel) Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace at 1:08
10. Wietse Bosmans (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus at 0:18.

Highlights from Zilvermeer by Vier:

header-soudal14-leftSoudal Scheldecross, Antwerpen 2014
19 year old Mathieu van der Poel (BKCP-Powerplus) showed his promise on Saturday afternoon and solo’d to victory on the sandy course ahead of Laurens Sweeck (Corendon-Kwadro) and Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea). Last year Van der Poel was second in the Scheldecross behind Niels Albert.

From the start Mathieu Van der Poel was up front with Tom Meeusen and Laurens Sweeck from the start, the young Dutchman put in the first attack, but Meeusen was on him and the pair distanced the others. Sweeck and Mathieu’s brother David van der Poel managed to cross the leading duo as the speed dropped. Van der Poel attacked again after a lap, this time Meeusen was in trouble, but held on as the other two were dropped. Sweeck fought his way back to the front and immediately attacked to start the third lap with a lead of 10 seconds.

As others began to work their way back to the chase group, van der Poel attacked and left everyone in his wake to catch Sweeck and follow him for a one lap with the chase at 10 seconds where they held them for three laps. Behind them Rob Peeters (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace), Meeusen, German champion Philipp Walsleben (BKCP-Powerplus) and Corné van Kessel (Telenet-Fidea) fought it out for 3rd place. Mathieu van der Poel rode clear and had time to enjoy his win as Sweeck finished at 43 seconds after a puncture. Meeusen was third ahead of Peeters, Walsleben and van Kessel and David van der Poel was seventh.

Race winner Mathieu van der Poel (BKCP-Powerplus): “I didn’t really need to win here but the form has been improving during the last few weeks and the course suits me really well, so before the race I was keen on winning here. I had a few sections where I could make the difference. Then again I didn’t want to waste too much energy as there’s another race tomorrow.”

2nd Laurens Sweeck (Corendon-KwadrO): “Before the race I hoped to finish in the top-five but I didn’t expect to be actually racing in the front. Some riders were not present but the level was still high. I’m pleased with second place.”

3rd Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea): “Maybe I should have been riding like a coward a bit longer but last week I was already criticised for profiting too much. Possibly I would’ve bridged back up to Mathieu a few more times but I decided to let the best riders go and focus on third place.”

The Scheldecross is apart of the Soudal Classics, but doesnt count towards the overall.

Soudal Scheldecross, Antwerpen Result:
1. Mathieu Van der Poel (Ned) BKCP-Powerplus in 57:08
2. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Corendon-KwadrO at 0:43
3. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea at 1:01
4. Rob Peeters (Bel) Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace at 1:05
5. Philipp Walsleben (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus at 1:13
6. Corné Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet-Fidea at 1:31
7. David Van der Poel (Ned) BKCP-Powerplus
8. Diether Sweeck (Bel) Corendon-KwadrO at 1:55
9. Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea at 2:00
10. Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Crelan-AA Drink Team at 2:02.

Scheldecross highlights:

header-uci_edited-1Ten US Continental Teams in 2015
With the iRT Racing Pro Cycling team replacing 5-Hour Energy, there should be ten UCI registered Continental teams in 2015. All the teams from 2014, apart from 5-Hour Energy, have announced their teams or shown their interest in being at Continental level. The other teams are: Astellas, Hincapie Racing, Jamis Hagens-Berman, Jelly Belly-Maxxis, Optum Pro Cycling, Team SmartStop, Axeon Cycling, Airgas-Safeway and Champion System-Stans No Tubes team.

Only two Continental teams for Spain in 2015
News from Spain isn’t as good as there will only two UCI registered Continental teams in 2015, they are: Burgos-BH and the Basque Euskadi team. There will be three women’s teams: Lointek, Bizkaia-Durango and BZK-ProBasic.

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header-lotto14-left-1No Tour for Jurgen Van den Broeck in 2015
Jurgen Van den Broeck won’t ride the Tour next year. The 31-year-old Belgian will cover a different programme, that’s decided together with the team. He’ll mainly focus on WorldTour stage races of one week, next to the Vuelta. Later will be decided if he starts in the Giro.

Marc Sergeant, manager Lotto Belisol: “After the Vuelta we took the time to look back and think about the future. Jurgen had a long rehabilitation after his crash in the Tour 2013. Then he immediately started his preparation for the 2014 season. Unfortunately, in Tirreno – Adriatico he fell on the same knee he had hurt in the Tour. The Dauphiné was hopeful and that’s why it seemed obvious to start the Tour with a clear ambition. Circumstances made it impossible to fulfil his and our ambitions. In the Vuelta he had no energy left.”

No Tour pressure
“A few weeks ago we sat together. I suggested not to ride the Tour; that way Jurgen is freed from the Tour pressure and the expectations there are after two fourth places. My idea was to focus on the WorldTour stage races of one week and to ride the Vuelta. WorldTour points are important for Jurgen and the team. He agreed not to ride the Tour, but would maybe like to add the Giro to his race programme. The race where it all began when he got into top ten in 2008. Jurgen will start the season in the Ruta del Sol, followed by the Tirreno – Adriatico and Volta Ciclista a Catalunya. At the beginning of April we will decide if we choose for a way to the Giro or follow the path of the stage races like Romandie or Switzerland.”

Dedication
Jurgen Van den Broeck: “My plans for 2015 were made together with the team. It will be different than other years, but with the same dedication for my new goals. I want to show what I’ve got. The Tour podium is still a dream, there are other riders that have skipped a year. But I have new dreams for other races as well now. I’ve proven that I’m worth top ten in WorldTour stage races.”

Dream of a nice season
“The Tour is the most beautiful race, but I don’t say no to a new project. I have a love-hate relationship with the Tour. I got into top five two times, but there are the several crashes I had as well. I was criticised by the media and others. I can put that in perspective, but it’s no fun. The Giro can be an option in 2015. That race is special to me because my career as a GC rider started there. I dream of a nice season.”

No Tour, maybe cobbles for Jurgen?
Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Belgium / Team Lotto Belisol)

header-iamcyclingMichel Thétaz “This WorldTour license is the best possible Christmas present”
The WorldTour ceased to be a dream for IAM Cycling. Michel Thétaz, CEO of IAM Funds and founder of the IAM Cycling team, was excited to unveil his new team this Thursday, December 11th, at the official presentation in Saanen in front of an audience of guests and journalists. “The best Christmas present arrived at my office in Geneva several days ago in the form of a letter from the Commission of Licenses and the International Cycling Union which announced that we would be awarded a WorldTour license for the next season. This is the culmination of all the work we have done since the birth of IAM Cycling in spring 2012. We have made every effort in order to meet this challenge and achieve this ambitious goal. And today I am the happiest man because IAM Funds will celebrate its 20th anniversary by joining the WorldTour in 2015 as a main sponsor. I could not have imagined a better gift for the company that I founded and I have headed since 1995.” The World Tour license was the icing on the cake after a very successful second season for the team marked Matthias Brändle’s Hour Record, as well as 38 podiums and 17 victories, including the wins Matteo Pelucchi and Sylvain Chavanel had in WorldTour events.

Sports Manager, Serge Beucherie felt it was essential to highlight the enthusiasm and commitment of the founder Thétaz. “I wish to extend my sincere thanks to Michel Thétaz, founder and general manager of this great team. His enthusiasm, passion as well as his confidence since the beginning of this adventure have been essential to us every day. He is responsible for giving us the means to meet this challenge and prepare to enter the WorldTour. In just two years, we have achieved our goal and we will not stop there!”

Finally, Rik Verbrugghe, the new operational team manager and coordinator of all activities for the team on the road, spoke of the recruitment efforts and explained the strategy envisioned for 2015. “IAM Cycling does not intend to over-burden the riders on the team simply because we have reached this new level. In 2014, the average number of race days for the 25 pros under contract with the team amounted to 66 days.

For 2015 with the WorldTour status, this figure will increase, according to our projections, 72 days, which is a quota entirely reasonable in comparison to the other teams of this level. We definitely do not want to overwork our riders. With 29 riders under contract including three neopros (Clément Chevrier, Sondre Holst Enger and Simon Pellaud), we will certainly managed to keep our promises and offer a race schedule that will satisfying everyone. The strategy that defined our transfer policy was to build two fairly distinct groups, namely a group around Mathias Frank, who is our leader for stage races, and another led by Sylvain Chavanel and Heinrich Haussler for the classics. In the end, we managed to create a compact, homogenous team itself.”

To support the Sylvain Chavanel, Mathias Frank, Heinrich Haussler and company throughout the 2015 season, Michel Thétaz and his sports directors recruited Stef Clement, Time Trial champion for the Netherlands in 2011, Jérôme Coppel, 2nd at the Etoile de Bessèges in 2014, Thomas Degand, winner of a stage and 2nd at the Tour du Gévaudan in 2014, Dries Devenyns, 14th at the Tour of Flanders in 2014, Jarlinson Pantano Gomes, 3rd in a stage and best climber at the Tour of Italy, David Tanner, stage winner at the Tour of Utah in 2010, Larry Warbasse, winner of a stage at the Tour of Qatar in 2013, as well as Jonas Van Genechten, a sprinter who is set to increase the number of victories that the team will grab in the coming seasons.

Always willing to nurture young talents, as it has done since its inception with riders like Aregger, Fumeaux, Lang, as well as Reichenbach and Schelling, all of whom flourish on the team in a great variety of races, IAM Cycling has also included three neopros in the mix. In addition to the great Norwegian hope Sondre Enger, who was recently 5th at the U23 World Championships in Ponferrada, and who has already been racing for the team since August 1, 2014, IAM Cycling also enlisted the Frenchman Clément Chevrier, best young rider at the Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado in 2014, and the rider from Valais in Switzerland, Simon Pellaud, who was the U23 Swiss National Champion in 2013.

Paris-Nice stage-5

header_OPQS_PR-left_edited-1Successful and Eventful Training Halfway Through Camp in Valencia!
Etixx – Quick-Step is getting some rest today, after a successful six days of their first training camp for 2015 in Valencia (Spain). The riders and staff have been kept busy between off-bike photo shoots, strength & stability training, and of course training rides.

Etixx – Quick-Step trainer Koen Pelgrim said the area has proven to be the perfect training ground for the team. “The quality of the roads is good here,” Pelgrim said. “You can train on the flats, the climbs, and the types of climbs are also diverse. You have rolling climbs and steep climbs. The quality of the weather here is also good. The rest day was our first cloudy day in six days. This makes it a perfect place for training.”

Training camp was also a perfect place to get the riders together for their off-bike training. This way, team physiotherapists and trainers could work with them directly to monitor technique and progress.

Some riders, for example, performed cycling ergometer lactate threshold tests with Pelgrim and staff of Bakala Academy. “We did lactate threshold tests that we also did with the Belgian guys earlier at Bakala Academy,” Pelgrim said. “We tested the other guys here at camp. We wanted to see the level of riders to determine the training zones for the rides we did at training camp, and also until we test them again around the time of our second training camp.”

Bakala Academy Nutrition Specialists also met with the riders to discuss their individualized meal plans for the upcoming season. Furthermore, some of the riders performed strength & stability training a couple times directly following their training rides. “It’s been proven that doing strength training helps also endurance athletes,” Pelgrim said. “That is something we always do in the preparation phase before at home. But we also try to continue it at training camp. That’s why we brought it here and we did the program here, so they can continue it without missing anything.”

Of course, a major component of training camp are the team rides. The kinds of efforts differed depending on the type of rider. “We split the groups into three,” Pelgrim said. “We had one group with the guys from Tour Down Under, as they need harder and more specific training to prepare them for earlier racing. Then we have the group that consists of the guys of the Belgian Classics and the sprinters. Then, of course, you have the climbers.”

All of the riders still performed long distance rides as part of their training. “Our longest ride until now was around 150 kilometers,” Pelgrim said. “That was yesterday. Two days before we did between 100 and 120 kilometers depending on the group.”

There are still several days left of camp, and there is plenty of work left to be done for the riders. “Tomorrow a lot of rain is predicted so we will have to freestyle it a bit,” Pelgrim said. “We will see what we can do that day if the rain is heavy. The day after there will be some hard training, interval training for Tour Down Under riders. For the Belgian Classics and sprinter group they will do some 200 meter sprints one-by-one. The third group, the climbers, will do some endurance training with strength training after. The last day we will have long rides for the climbers, an endurance ride and also some time on the time trial bike for the Belgian Classics and sprinter group, and the Tour Down Under group will do long training in the mountains. So, as you can see, there is still plenty left to do for our guys and each group will perform efforts specific to their needs.”

opqs-training-620

header-cult-leftRidley and CULT Energy Pro Cycling Team Announce Partnership
Ridley will be the bike sponsor of CULT Energy Pro Cycling Team for the following 3 years. The Belgian bike manufacturer and the Danish team will work closely together to reach the team goals, and to improve the products Ridley offers. The team that focuses on (small) stage races and the Classics will ride a Ridley Fenix, a bike specifically designed for these Classics.

Jochim Aerts, CEO Ridley Bikes: “We are very happy to be able to announce this new sponsorship deal. After the sponsorship of two Walloon teams at the pro-continental level, this is the third new team for Ridley in a short period of time.”

The CULT Energy Pro Cycling Team wants to grow in the near future, and we want to help them to achieve this by supporting them with our frames and knowledge of the industry. There are already some exciting experienced riders in the team, but also some youth riders who will make a big step forward in the following years. Supporting young riders has always been very important for us. We have U23 teams in different countries. With CULT Energy Pro Cycling, we now have an international team in which they can take the next step in their career. We are confident the team managers will be able to build on this solid base! The best is yet to come for the CULT Energy Pro Cycling Team and Ridley!

Michael Skelde, Sports director CULT Energy Pro Cycling: We are happy about the agreement made with Ridley! It is important for us, as a new Pro continental team that a reputed brand like Ridley believes in our project. We are going to be good ambassadors for them in the future – hopefully with good results from our team”

Fabian Wegmann, CULT Energy Pro Cycling rider: I’m very happy to work together with an innovative company like Ridley in 2015, who build fast bikes like the Noah and super lightweights bikes like the Helium!

cult-ridley-620

header-cannondale14_edited-1Good-Bye Peter!
We recently made our own ‘Photo Special’ celebrating the Cannondale team’s based in Italy and now Cannondale have made a Good-Bye Peter Sagan video:

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