What's Cool In Road Cycling

EuroTrash Fluo Ban Thursday!

A diverse EuroTrash Thursday: A ban for the Yellow Fluo boys, Van der Haar’s cross December, Tour of Qatar, Paris-Nice, Trek & Drapac team news, Tinkoff-Saxo camouflage video, long distance record and on-board cross video from Sven Nys. Loads to get through, so big coffee time!

TOP STORY: MPCC Suspend Neri Sottoli
The Movement of Credible Cycling (MPCC) has announced the suspension of the Italian ProContinental Neri Sottoli team from the MPCC until October next year. The reason for the suspension seems a little vague at the moment. The team claim that it is over Matteo Rabottini’s positive test this year. The team also claim that the suspension can have nothing to do with the doping cases of Danilo Di Luca and Mauro Santambrogio in 2013 as they state that was a different team from the present Neri Sottoli team of 2014. They claim that the Vini Fantini-Selle Italia team and Neri Sottoli are managed by different companies and registered in different countries and so the 2014 Neri Sottoli team has not had three doping cases in the last two years. The fact that Angelo Citracca was the team manager and Luca Scinto was sports director of both teams probably hasn’t slipped past the MPCC.

If the Neri Sottoli team are suspended from the MPCC, it could affect their chances of receiving a ‘Wild Card’ for the 2015 Giro d’Italia, as the race organisers did say they would give preference to teams who were part of MPCC. Being an Italian team the Giro is the most important race for the team and it would be a big disappointment if they didn’t ride.

Matteo Rabottini with his friend and DS Luca Scinto:
Giro D'Italia 2013 stage-11

header-Giant-Shimano14Next Cross Races for Lars van der Haar
Team Giant-Shimano’s Lars van der Haar (NED) continues his cyclo-cross calendar this December with another busy month of bpost bank trophee, Superprestige and World Cup races. November ended with a double header of races for van der Haar with firstly the third World Cup race in Milton Keynes, UK, followed by a quick return to the continent for Sunday’s Flandriencross in Belgium.

He came away from the weekend with a fourth place and a sixth respectively. The next race on his busy calendar is Saturday’s bpost bank trophee race in Hasselt as the time-based series continues. There is then a break with no races over the weekend of 13/14 December for the Dutch national champion before the next two World Cup races on 21 December in Namur, then Heusden Zolder on 26 December, making for a busy festive period.

This is followed by the sixth of eight Superprestige races, on 28 December in Diegem. Two further bpost bank trophee races follow on 30 December in Loenhout then on New Year’s Day in Baal. Just one day later van der Haar will line up at Internationale Centrumcross van Surhuisterveen in The Netherlands on 2 January for his second race of 2015.

December Race Calendar:
06/12: Bpost Hasselt
20/12: Bpost Essen
21/12: World Cup Namur
26/12: World Cup Heusden Zolder
28/12: Superprestige Diegem
30/12: Bpost Loenhout
01/01: Bpost Baal
02/01: Surhuisterveen Centrumcross.

Dutch Cross champion Lars van der Haar:
Cauberg Cyclocross - Worldcup  Valkenburg Elite 2014

header-airgas14Horner to Airgas-Safeway for 2015
2013 Vuelta a España winner, Chris Horner, will be riding for the US Continental Airgas-Safeway team in 2015. At 43 years old, Horner will be by far the oldest Pro in the US peloton, or any Pro peloton. His contract was not renewed by his 2015 team Lampre-Mreida and much like at the end of his RadioShack contract in 2013, Horner was struggling for a team.

Now that all the contracts are signed, Horner is looking forward to next season and said in a press release: “I am very excited to be joining Airgas-Safeway for 2015,” said Horner. “I have achieved a huge amount of success in my career and I’m incredibly proud of that. For me, the next chapter isn’t just about what I can do as an individual, but what I can give back to cycling as a sport. I had a number of options for this year and what really struck me about Airgas-Safeway was their utter commitment to giving the next generation of young riders the opportunity for success.”

The 43-year-old Horner brings a vast amount of experience, leadership, and skill to the Airgas-Safeway team. Horner turned professional in 1995 and has won nearly every major U.S. race during his career, including the overall National Racing Calendar series in 2002, 2003 and 2004.

“Chris Horner has done it all. This is not only a huge development for our program, but also for cycling fans in the United States,” said Airgas-Safeway team principle Chris Johnson. “To be able to give a group of young riders the chance to race with a champion like Horner is a dream come true on so many levels.”
Horner was equally enthused about his participation in the program and to be back racing in the U.S. “Racing with excited young athletes fits well with my love of the sport, and it will be a great partnership to build for the future. I look forward to sharing my racing and tactical experience to help the team race for the win at Tour of California, Tour of Utah, and many other races throughout the season.”

Airgas, one of the nation’s leading suppliers of industrial, medical and specialty gases, and hardgoods, has sponsored the team since its inception and is excited about the continued growth of the program.
“It has been thrilling to see how its riders have developed and excelled throughout the last two years,” said Airgas President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Molinini. “We are excited to partner with co-sponsor Safeway to continue to support these young athletes and look forward to next season with champion cyclist Chris Horner.”

Grocery retailer Safeway, the team’s co-sponsor, shared their enthusiasm and underlined the value that Horner brings to the team.

“We are very proud that the Airgas-Safeway team is focused on developing young riders. The addition of a rider of Chris Horner’s caliber will provide the team with not only leadership but also the mentorship that is critical to success in both business and cycling,” said Safeway president of marketing Mike Minasi.

“2015 is shaping up to be a fun year with great racing and more time at home with my family, including the new baby we have on the way in January,” Horner concluded. “I can’t wait to race with a group of excited young pros — their enthusiasm will make the season fun and exciting.”

The Airgas-Safeway Cycling Team consists of 16 riders from the United States, Canada and Mexico and will start the season in January with a training camp in California.

Will we see the return of the beard?

header-qatar14Tour of Qatar 2015: World’s top sprinters to tackle the 14th Tour of Qatar
The three sprinting stars of the 2014 Tour de France Marcel Kittel (4 stages), Alexander Kristoff (2 stages) and Peter Sagan (green jersey) are set to test their legs in Doha and around as they’ve been entered by Giant-Alpecin, Katusha and Tinkoff-Saxo respectively.

Escorted by his new lead out man Jacopo Guarnieri, the Norwegian who had a real breakthrough last year when he claimed his first Spring classic (Milan-San Remo) will make his sixth appearance at the Tour of Qatar with higher ambitions.

Fans of French cycling will be delighted to stay tuned for the sprints of the 2015 Tour of Qatar as national champion Arnaud Démare and one of his predecessors in the blue-white-red jersey Nacer Bouhanni (2012) will have their first direct encounter as rivals following the departure of the latter from FDJ to Cofidis. But the provisional start list features many more than just two top sprinters from the same country although Démare, with fifteen victories in 2014, and Bouhanni, a five-time stage winner at the Grand Tours (Giro and Vuelta), are probably the most interesting up and coming fast men in the best young riders category worldwide.

It’ll be the launch of a new season for South African team MTN-Qhubeka after recruiting high profile sprinters like Tyler Farrar, Theo Bos and Matt Goss who will line up alongside the 2013 Milan-San Remo winner Gerald Ciolek.

The other sprinters in contention will be Andrea Guardini (Astana), Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida), Adam Blythe (Orica-GreenEDGE), Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff-Saxo), the Van Poppel brothers (Trek Factory Racing), Sam Bennett (Bora-Argon 18), Heinrich Haussler and Matteo Pelucchi (IAM Cycling).

Once again, the Tour of Qatar is a springboard for the classics specialists as defending champion and Paris-Roubaix winner Niki Terpstra (Etixx – Quick-Step), Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing), Lars Boom (Astana), Philippe Gilbert and Greg van Avermaet (BMC), Matthieu Ladagnous (FDJ), Ian Stannard (Sky) and Matti Breschel (Tinkoff-Saxo) have chosen the race of the wind and the sand as part of their preparation once again.

Least but not last, 2014 World’s number 1 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) will make his debut at the Tour of Qatar as he tackles his thirteen pro season while Tom Boonen (Etixx-Quick Step) is set for a new campaign. The Belgian hasn’t missed a single Tour of Qatar since he first paid a visit to the Gulf in 2004. He holds the record of stage wins since he imposed himself for the 22nd time in Messaied last year. He also tops the tally of the overall victories with four successes under his belt (2006, 2008, 2009, 2012).


header-paris-niceParis-Nice 2015: Yvelines, Act VI
The start of the season for cycling’s major stage races will take place for the 6th consecutive year in the Yvelines department in 2015. The 73rd edition of Paris-Nice will start on 8th March with a 6.7-km prologue around Maurepas. The following day, the riders will set off from Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse for one week of racing with the destination of Nice.

The route for the 73rd edition of the Race to the Sun will be unveiled in its entirety on Tuesday 3rd February 2015 during a press conference organised at the headquarters of the Yvelines General Council in Versailles.

Paris-Nice departure in the Yvelines since 2010

Montfort-l’Amaury > Montfort-l’Amaury (prologue, 8 km)
Saint-Arnoult-en-Yvelines (stage 1 departure).

Houdan > Houdan (stage 1, 154 km)
Montfort-l’Amaury (stage 2 departure).

Dampierre-en-Yvelines > Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse (individual time-trial, 9.4 km)
Mantes-la-Jolie (stage 2 departure).

Houilles > Houilles (prologue, 2.9 km)
Saint-Germain-en-Laye (stage 1 departure).

Mantes-la-Jolie > Mantes-la-Jolie (stage 1, 162.5 km)
Rambouillet (stage 2 departure).

Maurepas > Maurepas (prologue, 6,7 km)
Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse (stage 1 departure).

Paris Nice 2007 Climb of the Côte de la Croix Neuve Montée:

header_trekfrtSteegmans to Support Both Classics and Sprinting Squads
Trek Factory Racing is proud to announce the signing of Gert Steegmans. The 34-year-old Belgian brings a wealth of experience to TFR and will strengthen both the team’s Classics and sprinters contingent.

Steegmans: “I’m happy to have landed a team for 2015. I’ve been training hard these last weeks and now I can focus on training without having to worry about contract negotiations. Trek Factory Racing is a great team and has excellent support staff. It’s a young team, but the management has a clear, long-term vision.”

General Manager Luca Guercilena: “We’re stoked to have Gert in the team. I know him personally from the times where we were both at QuickStep. He’s one of the biggest engines in the peloton and he’s very motivated to have a great season. This is a last-minute signing for us and we’ll start working on Gert’s training schedule and race program right away.”

Steegmans will enter his 13th season as a professional rider and has a proven record in both one-day races and stage races. He earned his stripes as a first-rate teammate and as his team’s designated sprinter, most notably winning the prestigious sprint on the Champs-Elysées in the 2008 Tour de France. He has also won stages in Paris-Nice, the Ruta del Sol, the 4 Days of Dunkerque and won the overall and stages at the Circuit Franco-Belge.

“I’m excited to get to know many new faces, starting next week at the team camp in Spain. I hope to support Fabian (Cancellara) in the Cobblestone Classics and to share my experience with the young sprinters of the team”, concludes Steegmans.

Trek Factory will count 27 riders of 14 different nationalities in 2015, making it once more the most international team on the WorldTour.

Trek Riders for 2015:
Eugenio Alafaci, Julian Arredondo, Fumiyuki Beppu, Matthew Busche, Fabian Cancellara, Marco Coledan, Stijn Devolder, Laurent Didier, Fabio Felline, Markel Irizar, Bob Jungels, Bauke Mollema, Giacomo Nizzolo, Yaroslav Popovych, Grégory Rast, Hayden Roulston, Fränk Schleck, Jesse Sergent, Fabio Silvestre, Gert Steegmans, Jasper Stuyven, Boy Van Poppel, Danny Van Poppel, Kristof Vandewalle, Calvin Watson, Riccardo Zoidl, Haimar Zubeldia.

New at Trek for 2015, Gert Steegmans:
VDK 3 Days of De Panne - Koksijde 2014

header-drapacGraeme Brown signs for Drapac Professional Cycling
Double Olympic Gold medalist and world-class sprinter Graeme Brown will race in the colours of Drapac Professional Cycling in 2015. In his 13-year career Brown has taken a number of major international victories, including nine stages of the Tour of Langkawi, as well as three stages of Australia’s biggest race the Tour Down Under.

An out and out sprinter in his youth, in recent years Brown has become a key member of the lead out train at both Rabobank and Belkin, and it is for this quality that the 35 year-old was snapped up by the Australian Professional Continental outfit.

“After 13 years of racing in Europe I’m really excited to start a new chapter of my life with a new team. Coming back and racing in Australia for an Australian team is something that I’ve always wanted to do, and this opportunity has come up at the perfect time.”

“As far as my role in the team goes I am really motivated to get really good a sprint train on track, and to help share the experience that I’ve picked up with these young riders.”

“I’ve also been impressed by Michael’s philosophy of helping riders beyond their racing careers, with things like the transition program which looks at helping riders outside of their racing. This is something that is unique to the team and I think is very important for a lot of riders to have access to.”

Team manager Jonathan Breekveldt added, “Graeme brings a wealth of experience to the team, which will be invaluable as we strive to build a squad that is focused on specific targets throughout the year where we believe we have the potential to mix it with the very best in the world.

“The team took seventeen wins this year, eight of which were taken by Wouter (Wippert) in sprints. We feel that by bringing in Graeme, and by improving the quality of our program we will be able to achieve a great deal more in 2015.”

Brown’s first race for the team will be the Australian national championships, where he will ride in a supporting role before looking towards his and the team’s other major targets throughout the season.

Cameron Peterson is the 19th rider to sign and finalise the teams 2015 roster.

Graeme Brown in the Tour de Qatar 2014 stage 3 individual Time Trial:
Tour de Qatar 2014 - stage 3

Drapac Professional Cycling awarded 2015 Pro Continental License
After making the step up to Professional Continental in 2014, the Drapac Professional Cycling Team has once again been granted a Professional Continental license for 2015. Ernst & Young and the UCI evaluated that the team fulfilled the ethical, financial and administrative demands.

Team manager Jonathan Breekveldt is naturally happy with confirmation that the team will be part of the second tier of professional cycling teams in 2015. “Of course I was confident we’d get the license, but I still consider it really important that the UCI and Ernst & Young have a close look at budgets, insurances and other aspects. This gives organisers, teams, partners and riders some guarantees. For our part we are grateful that the UCI also helped the team – given that we are based on the other side of the world.”

By achieving Professional Continental status the team has ticked one of its first boxes for 2015, and will now focus solely on building towards the first performances of 2015. Performance director Keith Flory commented, “We have been together with the 2015 team throughout this week working towards the new season, which obviously will start with a great Australian summer of cycling. 2014 was our best season to date and one of our key goals 2015 is to extend the program so our riders will be challenged even more, and we believe that our selection is ready for it.”

Along with the performance based sports program the team will also look to extend their work on redefining success and leaving a positive legacy.

Team manager Jonathan Breekveldt added, “Our pro continental license also gives us the responsibility to give back to the community and provide our athletes with more than just a sports performance program. Two weeks ago we took part in a ride with the Alfred Hospital to raise money for the community, have our riders inspire others and socially develop our riders. This is something that we as a team and our partners strongly believe in.”

header-tinkoffsaxoSix Questions With Michael Valgren
After a highly successful neo pro season which included victories in the Danish National Championships, Tour of Denmark and completing his first Grand Tour, we chatted to Michael Valgren as he reflected on his first season with the Tinkoff-Saxo team.

At the start of the season, what were your goals for 2014?
In the beginning of the season my goal was to adjust to the team and get a lot of experience from the experienced riders on the team. And of course I wanted to show the team that I am a huge talent so that they would believe in me.

What was your highlight?
It is 3 races combined. Tour of Denmark, which put me on the Vuelta list which in the end gave me the legs that almost won at the worlds! It has been a really really cool period of my career and maybe also why people are talking about me because of my performance at the Worlds!

Did you have any disappointments during the season?
I will not call it a disappointment but rather being realistic. I was not good in the classics the way I hoped to be. But at that moment I was just not strong enough. I had some difficult weeks before the classics but I came out strong from it, also mentally stronger.

Danish bike rider of the year…did you expect that?
A part of me expected it, but it was not my decision but the public of Denmark and that made me nervous. I won with 37% of the votes so Denmark also wanted me to win.

What was going through your mind on the last lap in Ponferrada?
I was scared actually. Scared to fail and that is not good because when you are scared you don’t dare to win and take the chances. I should have tried something before Kwiatkowski came across but was not sure I was good enough. I regret that I didn’t try.

What have you learnt from the more experienced rider on Tinkoff-Saxo so far?
I’ve learnt a lot of small things in the race, after and before but most of all I am just so amazed by my teammates and the way they take care of me and respect me. I feel so welcome and I am so grateful for that. It’s not always easy to come to a new team as a youngster but they’ve made it easy for me and easy to be myself.
Thanks to CORSO Sports Marketing.

Danish National champion, Michael Valgren:
Danish Championships Cycling Road Elite 2014

Tinkoff-Saxo Unveils Innovative Training Kit
The 30-strong squad of riders debuted today the brand new training kit by Sportful during the first day of the winter training camp in Gran Canaria.

Monday didn’t solely mark the beginning of the team’s two-week training camp in the Spanish island of Gran Canaria. It was also the first time the riders donned the slick camo kit that will be used during the official training camps. Although a first in cycling, this is a standard practice in most major sports where teams have two or even three kits, as is the case with football (home, away and third kit).

Featuring all of the design excellence expected from Sportful and utilizing much of the same state-of-the-art technology that is incorporated into the 2015 racing kit, the camo kit will be an integral part in the team’s preparation ahead of a demanding season.

Tinkoff-Saxo’s training and racing kits stem from a very strong and close partnership between the team and Sportful and the continuous feedback provided by the riders. Whether it is suggestions for new products, adjustments to little things like zips, seam placement or seatpad preference, every small detail is taken into account for the design, not just of team clothing but the whole Sportful collection.

A limited release of the training kit will be available for sale starting December 4th, while the 2015 team kit will be officially unveiled in Moscow, during a presentation on December 19th.

Not sure about the kit:

header-spiuknewsJulián Sanz Sets New Guinness World Record in Indoor Cycling Distance
Ultracyclist Julián Sanz has set a new Guinness World Record after pedalling for 2,800km on a turbo trainer in the context of the BIBE cycle show (Bilbao International Bike Exhibition).

Sanz broke the 2,738km mark set by the Frenchman Pierre-Michäel Micaletti last January, after pedalling for six days without a break. The Spiuk-sponsored ultracyclist hit 2,739km on day 5.

Despite his physical weariness, Sanz mounted the bike again as soon as he was done celebrating, adding a few more kilometres to his record (2,756). The man from Vizcaya set his record mark on Saturday 29 at noon, having pedalled since Monday 24 at noon too. Five days later (one day earlier than expected), he achieved his goal and accomplished an amazing feat. ‘I’ve suffered a lot, I’ve been in pain and had my ups and downs’, said Sanz, from Ugao, when he got off the bike.

Cycling Wear, a Crucial Factor
To set the new record mark, Julián Sanz wore a custom-made Summum outfit from Spiuk. The range is targeted at high-performance users, sportspeople demanding top quality and full comfort, a key aspect to face a challenge like Sanz’s. The discomfort and friction resulting from wearing the clothes for so long were two of the main elements that could have affected Julián’s performance. The flatlock seams and the Tour HP Carbonium chamois pad with Elastic Interface in his Summum outfit passed the litmus test with flying colours. In so doing, the apparel from Spiuk helped Julián Sanz write his name in gold in the Guinness Book of World Records.


On-Board with Sven Nys
On-board camera’s are all the fashion at the moment, not to be left out the UCI put a camera on the bike of Sven Nys in the Milton Keynes WorldCup event last Saturday. Pity he didn’t win.

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