What's Cool In Road Cycling

EUROTRASH Disk Thursday!

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We have a full EUROTRASH can to empty this Thursday. The big talking point is still disk brakes, we ask who wants them? Other cycling news is from all around the globe: Taiwan, Oman, Qatar, Gran Canaria, plus cyclo-cross, team and rider news. To finish; clothing manufacturer Endura have made a mini-Nairo!

TOP STORY: Who wants disk brakes?
I’ve just interviewed a few riders at the Astana training camp in Spain and not one of them wanted disk brakes and all thought they were dangerous. “They are too severe”, “the disks are sharp and get very hot and normal brakes are good enough”. This is what Lutsenko, Guardini, Smukulis and Capecchi had to say and it will be them who will be racing with these brakes, a resounding rejection. Talking to a mechanic, he also was not keen due the technicalities of a puncture, do they swap the bike? If so, does that team car have the correct bike for that rider.

The main worry was the injuries, “the disk could slice you like a knife!”

Find out what Lee Rodgers has to say on the sunject HERE.

Would you like to be at the bottom of that pile of bikes with hot, sharp disks?

Lampre Merida Team f_chiari
Double for Feng in Taiwan: 31 victories in 2015 for Lampre-Merida
The 2015 season of Lampre-Merida ended at the weekend in the best possible way, thanks to the double victory obtained by Chun Kai Feng in the Taiwanese championships.

The Asian cyclist won the road race Taiwanese championship, preceding Lu and Chen, and the time trial, covering the course in Taitung at an average speed of 43,710 km/h which allowed him to obtain the victory with 2:11 on Yang and Chen at 2:14. Feng obtained the 5th Taiwanese title on the road and the 2nd time trial title.

“Were very happy Feng could complete his season with two important results which gave the team the possibility to achieve the goal of the 31 seasonal successes,” team manager Copeland said. “Feng celebrated his contract renewal in a winning way and he confirmed that he could manage in his first season in the WorldTour.”

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Tour of Oman 2016: 18 Teams at the Start
Eighteen cycling teams have been selected to take part in the 7th edition of the Tour of Oman (February,16-21, 2016).

DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING (AUS)
ETIXX – QUICK-STEP (BEL)
TOPSPORT VLAANDEREN – BALOISE (BEL)
WANTY GROUPE GOBERT (BEL)
CULT ENERGY-STOLTING GROUP (DEN)
AG2R LA MONDIALE (FRA)
FORTUNEO VITAL CONCEPT (FRA)
TEAM GIANT ALPECIN (GER)
BORA – ARGON 18 (GER)
LAMPRE-MERIDA (ITA)
ASTANA PRO TEAM (KAZ)
TEAM LOTTO NL-JUMBO (NED)
ROOMPOT-ORANJE PELOTON (NED)
CCC SPRANDI POLKOWICE (POL)
KATUSHA (RUS)
TEAM DIMENSION DATA (SA)
BMC RACING TEAM (USA)
UNITED HEALTHCARE PRO CYCLING (USA).

Tour of Oman 2015:

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Tour of Qatar 2016: 18 Teams at the Start
Eighteen cycling teams have been selected to take part in the 15th edition of the Tour of Qatar (February, 8-12, 2016).

DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING (AUS)
TOPSPORT VLAANDEREN – BALOISE (BEL)
WANTY GROUPE GOBERT (BEL)
CULT ENERGY-STOLTING GROUP (DEN)
AG2R-LA MONDIALE (FRA)
FORTUNEO VITAL CONCEPT (FRA)
TEAM GIANT ALPECIN (GER)
BORA – ARGON 18 (GER)
LAMPRE-MERIDA (ITA)
ASTANA PRO TEAM (KAZ)
TEAM LOTTO NL-JUMBO (NED)
ROOMPOT-ORANJE PELOTON (NED)
CCC SPRANDI POLKOWICE (POL)
KATUSHA (RUS)
TEAM DIMENSION DATA (SA)
SKYDIVE DUBAI PRO CYCLING TEAM (UAE)
BMC RACING TEAM (USA)
UNITED HEALTHCARE PRO CYCLING (USA).

Ladies Tour of Qatar 2016
Fifteen cycling teams have been selected to take part in the Ladies Tour of Qatar which will take place from the 2nd to the 5th of February, 2016.

ALE CIPOLLINI (ITA)
AUSTRALIA – AIS CYCLING (AUS)
BOELS/DOLMANS (NED)
CANYON SRAM (GER)
CHINA CHONGMING-LIV-CHAMPION-SYSTEM (CHI)
CYLANCE PRO CYCLING TEAM (USA)
EQUIPE DE FRANCE (FRA)
HITEC PRODUCTS (NOR)
ITALIAN CYCLING FEDERATION (ITA)
LARES-WAOWDEALS UCI WOMEN TEAM (BEL)
ORICA-AIS (AUS)
RABO LIV WOMENS CYCLING TEAM (NED)
TEAM LIV PLANTUR (NED)
UNITEDHEALTHCARE PRO CYCLING TEAM (NED)
WIGGLE (GBR).

Tour of Qatar 2015:

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Wanty-Groupe Gobert in Tour of Qatar and Oman
Wanty-Groupe Gobert received an invitation by ASO to ride the Tour of Qatar (8-12 February) and the Tour of Oman (16-22 February) in 2016. Wanty-Groupe Gobert’s captain Marco Marcato is happy with these invitations.

“These races have a very high level with lots of WorldTour teams. The climate in the Gulf is great in February. The Tour of Qatar is characterized by a lot of wind and high speeds.In Oman there is a lot of altitude meters. It’s two weeks of great racing. After the stages you can train extra kilometers because of the great climate. Qatar and Oman are races where you can really build on your form for the Spring Classics!”

It’s the first time Jean-Francois Bourlart’s team is invited to these races in the Gulf states.

“This is a step forward for the team which starts its sixth year in the ProContinental division. ASO is a big organization and they reward us for our attractive and attacking style of racing,” Wanty-Groupe Gobert’s sports director Hilaire Van Der Schueren reacted.

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Tinkoff embarks on 2016 season with training camp at ANFI
A month after holding its team meeting in Poreč, Croatia, Tinkoff will embark on the first training camp of the 2016 season. The team’s riders, management, mechanics, soigneurs and staff will spend two weeks, from December 5 to 18, at the ANFI Tauro resort in Gran Canaria, setting the ground work for the year ahead.

In 2015, Tinkoff-Saxo focused heavily on training camps as a way of building basic condition during off-season and polishing the race shape in between races.

For Stefano Feltrin, Managing Director of Tinkoff, the winter training camps in Gran Canaria form a fundamental part of the season. “It is always nice to be back at the ANFI resorts this time of the year. Not only is Gran Canaria the best winter-training location in Europe, the ANFI Tauro resort gives us tranquility, comfort and first-class facilities. Having already held most of our meetings with the riders and the sponsors in Poreč, our riders will be able to fully concentrate on training.”

According to Steven de Jongh, Head Sport Director of Tinkoff, this camp “will provide the riders with valuable training time on their bikes. The mountainous terrain of Gran Canaria provides us with challenging training routes for long rides and physical testing on climbs. In addition, all riders will have two weeks to get to know each other, ahead of the 2016 season. Although the core of our squad remains unchanged, with Alberto Contador and Peter Sagan again our stand-out names, we had new signings as well as a number of riders that moved to other teams, so it is important for us to start building in this camp a close-knit group of riders,” commented de Jongh.

“We have set a rigorous plan of daily training sessions and thanks to the year-round sunshine in Gran Canaria and the little-traveled roads, we are certain we will make the most of it. All riders will also complement the time on the bike with daily sessions of core training. Last but certainly not least, the ANFI training camp will be the best opportunity for Ivan Basso and Ján Valach to enter into their new roles of, respectively, Technical Coordinator and Sport Director,” concluded de Jongh.

José Luis Trujillo, CEO of Anfi Group, assures “we are ready again this year to receive Tinkoff and its champions”. Anfi is consolidated once again as a hub within the cycling world”. Anfi and Gran Canaria in general, offer unique conditions to train for this sport which has more followers by the day,” continues Trujillo. Anfi, which consists of five luxury hotels in the south of Gran Canaria and operates a timeshare system, “offers unbeatable conditions to complement training,” confirmed Alberto Contador.

“There’s no other place in the world, at this time of year where you can find the sun and mountainous landscape, which make up the best scenery and toughest tests for this team,” added Trujillo. “We are all delighted and working hard to make the team’s stay as pleasant as possible,” a feeling that is shared within the Anfi Group workforce of over one thousand employees.

Building upon the success and popularity of its 2015 training kit, Tinkoff will unveil during the ANFI training camp the eye-catching kit its riders will wear in their training sessions in 2016.

The official race kits of the 2016 season will be presented later in December.

The full roster of Tinkoff for 2016 consists of 27 riders. In alphabetical order they are, Erik Baška, Daniele Bennati, Adam Blythe, Manuele Boaro, Maciej Bodnar, Pavel Brutt, Alberto Contador, Oscar Gatto, Michael Gogl, Jesper Hansen, Jesús Hernández, Robert Kiserlovski, Michael Kolar, Roman Kreuziger, Rafal Majka, Jay McCarthy, Sergio Paulinho, Evgeny Petrov, Pawel Poljanski, Michael Rogers, Ivan Rovny, Juraj Sagan, Peter Sagan, Matteo Tosatto, Yuri Trofimov, Nikolay Trusov and Michael Valgren.

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European Title for Lars van der Haar as Sabrina Stultiens Prepares for Cyclo-Cross Season Start
November began with a podium finish at the Koppenbergcross for Team Giant-Alpecin’s Lars van der Haar (NED), followed by a great victory at the European championships, sixth place in Ruddervoorde, and fourth places in Gavere, Koksijde and Hamme.

“November was a nice month for me with the European title,” said van der Haar. “It also included races where better results were within reach. Overall it was a good month and I’m in good form, which gives me confidence.

“I have high expectations for the races in December. I start with a few days on Mallorca to train hard and recharge my batteries. There are some nice races ahead in the World Cup and Superprestige, where I want to show myself and perform well. At Spa Francorchamps, Namur and Heusden Zolder I hope to fine-tune my form to be ready for the world championships, which is one of my main season goals.”

Team Liv-Plantur’s Sabrina Stultiens (NED) aims to gain racing rhythm in December, as she prepares to make her season debut in Mol. Stultiens explains: “January will be the most important month for me, so my goal for December is to get my season off to a good start. In the World Cup races, I hope to qualify for a place on the national team for the world championships. I am looking forward to the World Cup in Heusden Zolder, as it is a great race ahead of the worlds.”

Read our recent interview with Lars van der Haar HERE.

December Race Calendar Lars van der Haar:
12/12/2015 – Mol, Belgium
13/12/2015 – Spa Francorschamps, Belgium
19/12/2015 – Antwerpen, Belgium
20/12/2015 – Namur, Belgium
26/12/2015 – Heusden Zolder, Belgium
27/12/2015 – Diegem, Belgium.

December Race Calendar Sabrina Stultiens:
12/12/2015 – Mol, Belgium
20/12/2015 – Namur, Belgium
26/12/2015 – Heusden Zolder, Belgium
27/12/2015 – Diegem, Belgium.

Lars van der Haar:
European Championships Cyclocross 2015

Lampre Merida Team f_chiari
The team meeting has begun with a bunch of activities
The team meeting of Lampre-Merida in view of the 2016 season has begun. On Monday, the blue-fuchsia-green riders and part of the team staff reached the Hotel San Martino in Darfo Boario Terme and they immediately began to perform the full bunch of activities scheduled in the program of the meeting.

Among the most important appointments there was the medical checks, which were performed in the Centro Camuno di Medicina Sportiva Camillo Golgi, and the meeting of each cyclist with the technical staff in order to set the draft of the races program (in photo, the sport directors with Pibernik). In the evening, Brent Copeland introduced to the team the new riders which will join the team roster (Arashiro, Kump, Meintjes, Mohoric, Petilli and Zurlo).

On Tuesday, the medical checks and the meeting with the sport directors will be completed and in the afternoon the head of the team’s medical staff, Dr Guardascione, will explain to the cyclists the internal sanitary rules and regulations, in addition to the usual update about the medical topics.

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6 MTN-Qhubeka riders up for African Cyclist of the Year, Winner announced on 17 December
MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung are happy to have 6 riders nominated for the African Cyclist of the Year Trophy.

The nominees were announced by the organizers of the Tropicala Amissa Bongo as they have always been, since the event initiated the award back in 2012. The African Cyclist of the Year will be voted for by managers, coaches, officials, African and European cycling journalists and the jury will once again be chaired by Bernard Hinault, the 5 time Tour de France Champion.

Natnael Berhane who was the inaugural recipient of the award back in 2012 is once again up for nomination. As is our 2013 winner, Louis Meintjes. Daniel Teklehaimanot, Merhawi Kudus, Youcef Reguigui and Jacques Janse van Rensburg were also included in the 20 rider nominee list for 2015.

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Zdenek Štybar to ride in Essen, the only cyclo-cross of his season
The three-time cyclo-cross World Champion will line-up for the 50th edition of the Grand Prix Rouwmoer, which will take place on Saturday, December 5th.

Zdenek Štybar will be one of the top names at the start of the race, which will be his sole one during the cyclo-cross season, in a town he considers to be his second home: “After the Boonen and Friends Charity Event, I talked with my team and agreed that I wouldn’t do any cyclo-cross event this season, except Essen, and instead turn my attention to road training prior to the next season. If I compare my condition with the one I had last year I have to say that I’m a little bit behind schedule, which was obvious also last week-end in the Boonen and Friends Cyclo-cross. For me it’s a tough decision, because everybody knows how much I’m fond of this discipline, but I don’t want to race a cyclo-cross calendar without being in good condition, because it would be disrespectful for the organizers and the fans. I’m glad to ride Essen and meet my supporters there, as I have some great memories from this race and many friends there. Then, after Saturday, I will focus on my preparation for the road season joining my team in Denia for the first training camp of the season.”

Zdenek Stybar:
Tour de France 2015 - stage 6

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Who will be part of the Ladies and U23 team in 2016?
Later this month at the team presentation, the three Lotto Soudal teams will be officially presented. Today, you already get the overview of the composition of the Ladies team and the U23 team for 2016.

Next season, there will be fifteen Lotto Soudal Ladies. About ten riders left the team, among them the Italian champion Elena Cecchini and Carlee Taylor. Dany Schoonbaert can still rely on Isabelle Beckers, Jessie Daams, Lieselot Decroix, Chantal Hoffmann, Anouk Rijff, Anisha Vekemans and Susanna Zorzi. Also Fenna Vanhoutte stays with the team, she will make the transition to the elite in 2016. Julie Roelandts, who recently won the Flemish Championship cyclocross for 13-year-old aspirants, will be the only youth cyclist in the team next year.

Six new riders join the Lotto Soudal Ladies; including the Belgians Sofie De Vuyst (28) and Lotte Kopecky (20), the French rider Elise Delzenne (26), the South African An-Li Kachelhoffer (28), the German cyclist Claudia Lichtenberg (30) and her current teammate at Liv-Plantur the Dutch Willeke Knol (24).

Lotto Soudal Ladies 2016:
Isabelle Beckers, Jessie Daams, Sofie De Vuyst, Lieselot Decroix, Elise Delzenne, Chantal Hoffmann, An-Li Kachelhoffer, Willeke Knol, Lotte Kopecky, Claudia Lichtenberg, Anouk Rijff, Julie Roelandts, Fenna Vanhoutte, Anisha Vekemans and Susanna Zorzi.

The U23 team of Lotto Soudal will consist of 23 riders next year, of which twelve new names. Five riders who leave turn professional in 2016: Laurens De Plus (Etixx – Quick-Step), Hayden McCormick (One Pro Cycling), Ruben Pols, Dries Van Gestel and Kenneth Van Rooy (all Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise). This gives a total of 24 Lotto Soudal U23 riders who became professional in the last five years.

Emiel Planckaert gets his brother Edward on his side next season, who’s starting his third year as a U23 rider. The other new arrivals are all first-year U23. Among them five Belgians who were selected for the World Championships in Richmond in the U19 category: Stan Dewulf, Robbe Ghijs, Bjorg Lambrecht, Thomas Vereecken and Aaron Verwilst.

Lotto Soudal U23 team 2016:
Alexandre Braybrooke (new), Jonas Castrique (new), Steff Cras, Kevin Deltombe, Stan Dewulf (new), Robbe Ghijs (new), Michael Goolaerts, Steff Hermans, Mikkel Frølich Honoré (new), Kevin Inkelaar (new), Ward Jaspers (new), Bjorg Lambrecht (new), Senne Leysen, Milan Menten, Edward Planckaert (new), Emiel Planckaert, James Callum Shaw, Mathias Van Gompel, Harm Vanhoucke (new), Joachim Vanreyten, Thomas Vereecken (new), Aaron Verwilst (new) and Enzo Wouters.

Isabelle Beckers:
stage - 6 of the Boels Ladies Tour 2015

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Tunnel-Vision: the Making of Virtual Nairo
The Movistar Team’s clothing sponsor Endura are going the extra mile to ensure that the team have the best fitting and most aerodynamic uniforms and skinsuits that science will allow. Director Jim McFarlane takes us behind the scenes at November’s pre-season training camp in Pamplona, and tells us how a life-size 3D copy of Nairo Quintana, complete with moving limbs, is going to help the real Nairo try to win the 2016 Tour de France.

Most of the year, the great cycling teams divide into small details that travel together and rarely have mutual contact. The big, pre-season team meeting in mid-November is the only occasion of the year that brings the entire company – riders, old and new, team staff, even sponsors – together in one place to meet, work and make plans.

For the Movistar Team, it was also the first and last opportunity to celebrate winning the team rankings in the UCI WorldTour for the third time in succession.

Staff and sponsors converged on Pamplona from all over Europe, and riders flew in from all over the world, but few had as grueling a journey as the Director of the team’s clothing sponsor Endura, Jim McFarlane. Based in the company’s headquarters just outside Edinburgh, Jim flew not to Spain but to northern Germany where he hired a white van, picked up a mobile 3D laser scanner and then drove the 1500 kms to Pamplona overnight.

On the morning of Tuesday 10 November, he met his colleagues and erected the scanner, which resembles the sort of temporary changing room they used to put on beaches in Victorian times. Once in working order, the Endura crew proceeded to scan all the riders, one by one – all twenty-seven of them.

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Jim explained, “It’s the first time we’ve used laser scanning with the team. It gives us a virtual form of each of the riders that we can work with and access throughout the season, because you have to remember that, once the season starts, it can be quite hard to get time with the riders.

“Our software maps the 2D patterns that we cut from the fabric, and it virtually stitches it over a 3D avatar. It shows us tension maps across the body, using specific fabrics with known stretch characteristics. It looks like a heat map, but it shows the amount of stretch across the body, and it means that we can essentially refine each of the rider’s garments to fit them more accurately.”

The last rider to be scanned was the Movistar Team’s great Tour de France contender, Nairo Quintana, for whom Jim and colleagues had a surprise in store.

“This is the first time Nairo’s been scanned. The first part of the process gave us his key measurements, just like with the other riders, so that was in a standing position. But then, we put him on a bike. It was his road bike, OK, but we wanted to introduce Nairo to the idea of him being scanned on a bike, because at some point in the future, and hopefully substantially before the 2016 Tour, we will take him to Germany and scan him on his time trial bike.”

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Endura developed their scanning protocol with time-trial ace Alex Dowsett, several weeks before the big team gathering.

“Scanning is the solution to two problems. The first is that you can’t necessarily get access to take riders physically to a wind tunnel. The second is that they fatigue when they are there, and aero testing is all about consistency and repeatability, so the idea was, we scan Alex, we then take his 3D avatar or ‘scanatar,’ as we call it, and use that to 3D-print a mannequin of Alex that we can then build into it a physical working model with adjustable limbs and so on, so that we can do much more extended periods of wind tunnel aero testing, knowing that that is the form of Alex’s shape.”

“We get to repeat the process that we did with Alex, but on Nairo, so that we can refine his clothing. So that’s the plan: to have both a virtual Nairo, and a physical carbon-fibre Nairo, and work with those two together, and hopefully make him faster on time-trial day at the Tour de France.

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“It’s all about us being able to take an accurate 3D body shape of him, in a riding position, for aero purposes, and we do an awful lot of work, specifically with Simon Smart at the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 wind tunnel at Silverstone, for aerodynamic development for the team. It’s been one of the major processes that we’ve been involved in, and of course that the team’s very encouraging. It’s one of the few places that we can make a really noticeable er performance difference to the team that’s measured in seconds.

“But, you know, it’s November now. The Tour will be here before you know it, so we know we’ll have to work to a fairly tight timeline.”

With a total of 54km of individual time trials in the 2016 Tour de France, the tiniest detail could make all the difference, which is why Endura’s input doesn’t stop with the design and manufacture of the skinsuits.

“I’m usually out at the Grand Tours in the day before the major time trials, making sure not just that everything fits correctly, but they know how to put the stuff on correctly, because we have things with that sort of, you know, progressive texturing and so on. You have to make sure that all the sleeves are lined up the right way, and all that sort of stuff, so it’s that sort of detail, And then, yeah, I’ll be watching the race with great interest and great excitement… On time trial day, we’ll play an important part.”


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