EUROTRASH Giro For Sale Thursday!
If you have a spare €80 million you could own the Giro d’Italia, but ASO might beat you to it. The (possible) Giro sale is our Top Story, plus we have cross action from the Jaarmarktcross with report, result and video. Other cycling news: WorldTour and ProConti teams, Strade Bianchi course, retirements and contracts, Alberto Contador visits hospital, Soudal sponsorship, bike for Lionel Messi, new kit for Movistar and the wedding of the year in Slovakia. A full EuroTrash Thursday.
TOP STORY: Giro for Sale?
The front page of Milano Finanza leads with the news that RCS Media needs to pay off some of its €440,000,000 debt and selling RCS Sport could be the answer. RCS Sport runs the Giro d’Italia as well as Milan-San Remo, Lombardia, Tirreno-Adriatico, Strade Bianche, Dubai Tour and the Abu Dhabi Tour and is involved in other sports. The rumor is that RCS Sport would be worth around €80 million, so that would not make a big dent in the debt, but every little bit helps.
Tour de France organizers, ASO, are bound to be the front runners in the purchase of the Italian race owner/organizer. If the sale went through, it would put ASO into an exceptionally dominant position, owning control of all three Grand Tours and many of the Classics. If there was a fall-out between ASO and the UCI, the men in Switzerland wouldn’t have much leverage and the teams would also have to tow-the-line. A monopoly is never a good thing.
Soudal Classics – Jaarmarktcross Niel 2015
Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) took the win in the Jaarmarktcross in Niel on Wednesday after his resounding victory in Sundays Superprestige in Ruddervoorde. Wout Van Aert (Vastgoedservice Golden Palace) and Lars Van der Haar (Giant-Alpecin) were not in Niel, but Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) and Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink) were and finished second and third.
Nys, Meeusen and Laurens Sweeck (Corendon-Kwadro) were the strong-men at the start with Pauwels in trouble. As the race progressed; Nys made a few mistakes and then crashed on the cambered slope, Sweeck also crashed at the same place which left Meeusen out on his own with an 11 seconds lead. The race came together again. Into the last half of the race and Pauwels turned the gas on and was away on his own for the win
Race winner, Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon): “I saw Sven make a mistake and that’s when I got through to the front. It was a long start on the road and I messed up a little bit. Then I lost a number of places on the technical sections and I was forced to chase. At the beginning of the race it didn’t work out so good. Then suddenly I saw that Sven had made a mistake in the sand. I pulled through, got a gap and from then it was about keeping going.”
Soudal Classics – Jaarmarktcross Niel Result:
1. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games at 59:57
2. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet Fidea at 0:33
3. Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan-AA Drink
4. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Era-Murprotec at 1:22
5. Tim Merlier (Ned) Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace at 1:44
6. Jens Adams (Bel) Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace at 1:50
7. Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace at 2:14
8. Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games at 2:19
9. Michael Boros (Bel) BKCP-Corendon at 2:24
10. Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games at 2:31.
2016 WorldTour License for Astana
The UCI have closed proceedings against the Astana team over their WorldTour license for 2016. There are also no sanctions against the Kazakh team. The team was audited by the Institute of Sport Sciences of the University of Lausanne (ISSUL) and were monitored over four months. In a statement the UCI announced: “The Commission decides: That the proceedings for the withdrawal of the UCI WorldTeam license awarded to the Astana UCI WorldTeam are now devoid of purpose and are closed.”
Eleven team have been confirmed as part of the WorldTour:
Astana Pro Team
BMC Racing Team
Trek Factory Racing.
Seventeen ProConti Teams Confirmed for 2016
The UCI License Commission has announced that seventeen teams are confirmed as Professional Continental for 2016, including the One Pro Cycling team, the first at this level from Britain. Bardiani-CSF, CCC Sprandi Polkowice, Cult Energy-Stölting Group, Direct Energie (ex-Europcar), Roth-Skoda, and Tharcor (ex-Southeast) maybe added if they pass further investigation by the Commission.
Seventeen Professional Continental teams for 2016:
Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
Cofidis, Solutions Credits
Delko Marseille Provence KTM
Drapac Professional Cycling
Funvic Soul Cycles-Carrefour
One Pro Cycling
Roompot Oranje Peloton
Team Novo Nordisk
UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team
Verva Activejet Pro Cycling Team
2016 Strade Bianchi: The Northern Classic in the South of Europe
On Saturday 5 March, starting and finishing in Siena, are the Women’s Elite race – the inaugural race of the first UCI Women’s WorldTour calendar – and the men’s professional race, now in its 10th edition.
The Northern Classic in the South of Europe is presented today at the Libreria Rizzoli in Milan’s Vittorio Emanuele Gallery. Now in its 10th edition for the men and 2nd for the women, the Strade Bianche – organized by RCS Sport / La Gazzetta dello Sport – is one of the world’s most prestigious professional cycling races.
Both races start and finish at Siena, departing from the Medicean Fortress and finishing in Piazza del Campo as per tradition, in the shadow of the Torre del Mangia.
Men – 176 Kilometers, Nine Sectors and 52.8km of Gravel Roads
A twisty and undulating course, with no long climbs but with punchy hills, most significantly on the unpaved parts. There are roughly 53km of gravel roads, appearing in nine sectors.
Starting from Siena (Stadium/Medicean Fortress area), the first undulating kilometers are on tarmac before reaching the first 2.1km gravel sector at km 11, which is perfectly straight and always slightly uphill. Then we’re soon at the first hill of the day, the Passo del Rospatoio (paved, roughly 5km at 5%). The race will then go through Murlo, followed by one of its classic gravel sectors (5.5km, featuring in the course since its first edition) with no significant gradient and leading to Buonconvento. After few kilometers start the Montalcino climb, the second of the day (4km at 5%). After Torrenieri the riders will face sectors three (11.9km) and four (8.0km) with only 1km of tarmac in between them. Both are hard, hilly, very punchy and with many bends, climbs and descents.
After the second passage through Buonconvento the feed station will be positioned in the area of Ponte d’Arbia. Soon the route reaches Monteroni d’Arbia, which marks the beginning of the following gravel sector of San Martino in Grania (9.5km) in the middle of the Crete Senesi. It’s a long sector with continuous up and downs in the first part, ending up with a twisting climb before meeting the tarmac again.
In Ponte del Garbo (Asciano) the sixth gravel sector begins. At 11.5km it’s the hardest of the race, mostly uphill and characterized by tough hills, the most important being those close to Monte Sante Marie, which face steep gradients on both climbs and descents over short distances. After Castelnuovo Berardenga there’s a very short, flat section of gravel (300m), before facing, after Monteaperti, the seventh sector which is only 800m long, but with a double digit gradient ramp before rejoining the tarmac in Vico d’Arbia and going to paved road through Pieve a Bozzone. Next comes the penultimate sector (2.4km) on the climb toward Colle Pinzuto (with inclination up to 15%). After a few kilometers the riders will face the last sector (1.1km) which features a sequence of a demanding descent followed by a very punchy climb (max 18%) that ends up at the Tolfe. From here only 12km separate the riders from the finish in Piazza del Campo, Siena.
Women – 121 Kilometers, 7 Sectors and 22.4km of Gravel Roads
A twisty and undulating course, with no long climbs but with punchy hills, in particular on the unpaved parts. There are roughly 22km of gravel roads, in seven sectors, many of them shared with the men’s race.
Starting from Siena (Stadium/Medicean Fortress area), the first undulating kilometres are on tarmac before reaching the first 2.1km gravel sector at km 11, which is perfectly straight and always slightly uphill. Then we’re soon at the first hill of the day, the Passo del Rospatoio (paved, roughly 5km at 5%). The race will then go through Murlo, followed by one of its classic gravel sectors (5.5km, featuring in the course since the first edition of the men’s race) with no significant gradient and leading to Buonconvento.
After the passage through Buonconvento the feed station will be positioned in the area of Ponte d’Arbia before reaching Monteroni d’Arbia which mark the beginning of the following gravel sector of San Martino in Grania (9.5km) in the middle of the Crete Senesi. It’s a long sector with continuous up and downs in the first part, to end up with a twisting climb before entering again on the tarmac. After that starts a paved section with no particular difficulties until the village of Guistrigona, where a short 1km gravel sector joins back to the classic men’s course with its demanding and challenging finale.
After Castelnuovo Berardenga there’s a very short, flat section of gravel (300m), before facing, after Monteaperti, the seventh sector which is only 800m long, but with a double digit gradient ramp before rejoining the tarmac in Vico d’Arbia and going to paved road through Pieve a Bozzone. Next comes the penultimate sector (2.4km) on the climb toward Colle Pinzuto (with inclination up to 15%). After a few kilometres the riders will face the last sector (1.1km) which features a sequence of a demanding descent followed by a very punchy climb (max 18%) that ends up at the Tolfe. From here only 12km separate the riders from the finish in Piazza del Campo, Siena.
The demanding final kilometres, with gradients up to 16%, approach the city of Siena along broad, straight sections of road, connected by sweeping curves, first descending, and then climbing slightly. 2km from the finish line, the route joins Via Esterna di Fontebranda, where the gradient touches 9%.
900m from the finish line, the race route passes beneath Fontebranda Gate where the road surface becomes paving slabs. The gradient exceeds 10% until 500m from the finish line, reaching its highpoint of 16% in Via Santa Caterina. A sharp right hand turn leads to Via delle Terme, and then Via Banchi di Sotto. With 300m to go, the road continues to climb slightly then, 150m from the line, a right turn leads into Via Rinaldini. The route enters the Piazza del Campo just 70 m from the finish line. The final 30m descends at a gradient of 7% and the finish line itself is flat.
A Great Cycling Weekend
Fans and active cyclists will have the chance to live a great weekend of cycling, culture and great food. Following the professional cyclists races, the following day, Sunday 6 March, the Gran Fondo Strade Bianche will be held on most of the paved and gravel roads that the champions will face the day before.
Strade Bianchi 2016 ProMo:
Bono, two years extension of the contract on his birthday
Eleven and twelve! Adding the 2016 and 2017 seasons to his pro career, Matteo Bono will count 12 seasons in the Team Lampre-Merida. The Italian cyclist signed a two years extension of the contract with the team of the manager Brent Copeland, the only one team he has raced for in his career.
Four victories as pro cyclist (biography here), Bono is an experienced rider and one of the best domestique in the world: he’s celebrating his 32nd birthday (November 11th) just after having signed the extension of the contract with Lampre-Merida.
“It’s an outstanding birthday, the extension of the agreement with the team is a perfect present for me – Bono said – I always try to give my support to the team, my first goal is to help the captains and I’m happy I can be helpful in leading the young guns of the team. I’m resting for some weeks after the end of a very long cycling season, which started for me in January in Australia and ended on October 28th in Hainan.”
“I’m looking forward to start the new season, I’ll begin the trainings with high morale and being aware I’ll be able to give my help to the team for two more years. I thank the management and the sponsors of the team.”
Lampre-Merida’s team manager Brent Copeland said: “Reliable riders are necessary for resistant teams: Bono is fundamental for our group and we’re happy we signed a two years contract with him. Matteo spent ten years in our team, he’s one of the best icon of the Italian cycling in a cycling scene that is becoming more and more dynamic and international. Bono can assure confidence and experience which are key elements for adding value to the qualities of the team’s captains and for supporting the improvements of the young riders.”
Bart Wellens Retires
Ex-double World Champion Bart Wellens ceremoniously hung his cyclo-cross bike up on Sunday at the Superprestige in Ruddervoorde. He actually stopped racing in March but in Ruddervoorde he could say good-bye to the fans with one last lap and a podium presentation.
As well as his World titles in 2003 and 2004, he was Belgian champion in 2004 and 2007, UCI World Cup in 2003, Superprestige 2004 and the Gazet van Antwerpen Trofee in 2004. Add to that the Under 23 World champion in 1999 and 2000 and you have a very good palmarès. He also won a lot of domestic cross races including three times in Ruddervoorde in 2001, 2003 and 2005.
After a lap of the Ruddervoorde circuit with Telenet-Fidea teammates Petr Dlask, Peter Van Santvliet, Jan Verstraeten and brother, Geert Wellens with Kevin Pauwels, Tom Meeusen and Wout Van Aert, Wellens hung his bike up on the podium.
Wellens told Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad after the presentation: “It’s fun to race here again, I am very happy that many of my former teammates are present here. My life has completely changed. The stress of the cross is gone. I don’t have to perform anymore and can enjoy life more now.” Wellens will under go major back surgery in February.
Fabian Cancellara to Retire at the End of 2016
Fabian Cancellara announced at the Swiss cycling awards that the 2016 season would be his last. 2015 was not his best year as he fractured a vertebrae in the E3 Harelbeke and couldn’t compete in the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. Then in another crash during the Tour de France he fractured vertebrae a second time, further illness ruined his season.
Cancellara said to SRF: “2016 will be my last season. It is the right time, now I’m ready for something else. Cycling is not my whole life, cycling is just part of my life.”
Campbell Flakemore Stopping after One Season
With just one season under his belt as a professional cyclist, Campbell Flakemore has decided to hang up his wheels. The Under 23 World time trial champion still had a year to go of a two year contract with the BMC team. At the start of the year he broke his collarbone on stage 2 of the Tour Down Under. He rode in the Tour of California and some other top races, but his only result of note was 4th place in the National road race championships.
In an interview with the Australian newspaper, Adelaide Now, Flakemore said: “I haven’t got any plans. I’ve ridden my bike once in the last 10 weeks, so I haven’t really got any drive to do it, It wasn’t something that happened overnight. Even last year I was umming and ahhing whether to go another season, then you get a professional contract and it’s pretty hard to turn down. It was something I owed to myself and sadly it didn’t work out but I’m happy.”
New Kit for Movistar
Endura have redesigned the Movistar team clothing for 2016 and Nairo Quintana modeled the kit at the teams get together in Pamplona. The color is the same dark blue with the big green M across the front and back of the jersey. The only differences are white back pockets and sleeves and the riders name on the back just bellow the collar.
Alberto Contador, at the ‘First Day of Stroke’s Divulgation’ at the Ramon y Cajal Hospital
Alberto Contador offered his full support to the ‘First Day of Stroke’s Divulgation’, held at the Ramon y Cajal Hospital in Madrid, where was treated and operated himself of this disease which, he said, “changed my way of seeing life and helped me to appreciate the really important things.”
During this day were presented to the public the results of research carried out at the Ramon y Cajal Hospital on the ‘Impact of Stroke on the Young’, a project that has been sponsored by the Alberto Contador Foundation and has yielded some impressive results, such as the progressive incidence of this disease in young people, not more than 56 years old.
Of the 830 patients admitted in 2014 at the Ramon y Cajal, 110 were under 56, over 13% of the total, representing a significant increase in reference to the previous data. Among these patients, with an average age of 46 years, 85 percent had at least one risk factor, most notably smoking, hypertension, obesity and psychosocial stress, a concept not investigated to date but that has a high incidence (about 60%) among young stroke victims.
The good news of this Divulgation Day is the improvement in the prevention of this disease as well as treatment, which highlights the speed of health care in Madrid’s hospitals, that have managed to dramatically increase the cure rates, both survival and to overcome the disease without sequelae.
Alberto Contador, meanwhile, offered to the public the story of his own experience with the disease, noting that when he suffered, “I did not know the symptoms at all. Although I had strong headaches on days before having the stroke, I did not imagine what happened to me, why it is so important that people go to the hospital as soon as they notice something odd. In this disease, every second counts”, said the leader of Tinkoff-Saxo team, who reiterated his commitment to divulgation and fight against a disease “that affects life along one of every six people and at any age.”
Asked by the media who attended the event, Alberto Contador also unveiled the race schedule which plans to meet in 2016. “It’s a classic calendar,” said the triple winner of Vuelta, Giro and Tour. “Almost certainly I will start in the Tour of Algarve, this year I will return to Paris-Nice and follow with Volta a Catalunya and the Tour of the Basque Country. There I will initiate a period of rest to return then to the Dauphine Criterium and Tour de France”. Finally, the leader of Tinkoff-Saxo said targeted the Olympic Games, both road race and time trial.
Contador also reiterated that 2016 “may be my last season, unless I suffered a mishap in the Tour de France”. If that happened, he said his first choice is “talking with my team, Tinkoff, to continue for another year. If that were not possible, also would be a very attractive option to pursue a personal project, if we get a sponsor to get a professional team with my Foundation, which would continue the work we are doing with young riders”, he concluded.
Luke Roberts Joins Giant-Alpecin’s Coaching Staff
Luke Roberts (AUS) strengthens the performance team of Team Giant-Alpecin. Roberts has been a member of the Australian national track team for more than 10 years and has spent several years with professional road teams. Since ending his career as a pro rider in 2014 he has been a sports director at Team CULT Energy.
Team Giant-Alpecin coach Rudi Kemna (NED) said: “We’ve talked extensively with Luke to assess whether he would be a good match for our organization and to see if there is a personal fit too. This turned out to be the case. Factors that played a major role in our decision were his experience as a pro cyclist, first as a track rider, with the specific training that involves, followed by his experience as a road cyclist, at both large and small teams, in combination with his knowledge of and interest in training science. He has also gained the necessary experience as a coach in recent years, and we want to bring him into our WorldTour team to help him develop into a complete and versatile coach within our organization.
“The first year he will have the opportunity to gain specific experience with our seasoned coaches, especially with regard to our way of working, with Team Giant-Alpecin’s Keep Challenging approach.”
About his new challenge, Roberts said: “Since ending my career as a professional cyclist I have wanted to move forward in my career as a coach. I was looking for a team that fit my philosophy in cycling, and I found that team in Team Giant-Alpecin. I have a lot of respect for the team and its approach to modern cycling, as it is always pushing the development of the team and the sport of cycling itself. So I was keen to make a deal to work together and to progress as a coach. In my first year I will integrate into the team and begin to show my value to the team.”
Team Giant-Alpecin parts ways with coach Christian Guiberteau (FRA). The team thanks him for his contributions and wishes him all the best in his future endeavors.
Lotto Soudal: Soudal has been name sponsor for one year, a first evaluation
The past season was the first with Soudal as main sponsor, together with Lotto. The Belgian company is the largest European independent manufacturer of sealants, adhesives and polyurethane foams for professionals and retail. Soudal is active in more than 130 countries and has 44 branches divided over all continents. Their presence in cycling began in 2013. Then the Soudal logo was visible on the side of the shorts of the riders during the Tour de France. In 2014 Soudal became cosponsor for the entire season. After an evaluation Soudal decided to become name sponsor of the team for six years, until 2020. How was this first season, with forty victories of the WorldTour team, for the new name sponsor?
Luc Thys, Director marketing and R&D Soudal: “This was of course a top year for the team, we couldn’t have wished for a better start as name sponsor. We are very proud of the team’s performances. The past season we could experience that cycling causes a lot of emotional involvement, we see that with our employees, partners and clients. We already noticed that the previous years, but not that much. The worldwide interest of the Soudal group has surprised us. In a lot of Soudal branches there is a Lotto Soudal wall with newspaper articles and other publications in the local language.”
“The team won races in different countries, from Belgium to Canada. This geographical spread is good for us as international company. Just like the fact that we owe these successes to riders of different nationalities. We would like to continue on the same path. At Soudal we are pleased that Tomasz Marczynski and Rafael Valls will join the team, as Poland and Spain are important markets for us. In Poland the brand awareness of Soudal is already big, we have more than one hundred employees and an own production. There was a crisis in the Spanish building industry the past years. During that period we maintained our position in the do-it-yourself shops and now the building sector is getting back on its feet, so that offers good perspectives.”
This year Soudal did several activations related to the team in shops and during fairs. There was a competition in cooperation with Ridley, the producer of the bikes of the Lotto Soudal team. Also the videos in which the riders tested the Soudal products were remarkable.
Luc Thys: “This first season as name sponsor didn’t cause any big evolutions, but we achieved what we wanted. During this first season we strengthened the bond between Soudal and the team, which was a first important step for us. The visibility of the brand Soudal has grown a lot, certainly in Belgium. The foreign media often focus on national riders and teams. In those countries we get publicity with victories, but also thanks to other remarkable performances. For example the fact that Adam Hansen completed thirteen Grand Tours in a row and broke the world record. Also that counts, also because Australia is an important market for us and we want to put extra attention to Adam’s achievement.”
“The name Soudal resounds in the cycling world, but we are aware of the fact that not everybody knows what we do. We are working on that, that’s a priority for us. We have taken a good start with the visibility, but need to deepen it. In the future we want to emphasize our products. This year we developed the Soudal Cycling Range in close cooperation with the mechanics of the team. In the past we already produced lubricants, so this was a logical step. But this is only an extra, it won’t become our core business.”
Now back to the sport. As indicated it was a very good season for Lotto Soudal, it was a record year with forty victories. A lot of unforgettable moments, but what stands out for Luc Thys?
Luc Thys: “The victory of André Greipel on the Champs Elysées gave me goose bumps. I was there, in Paris. The circumstances were far from perfect. It had rained so the road was slippery and André didn’t seem to be in a good position to start the sprint and we thought it was over, but still he won in an impressive manner. Also my visit to Kris Boeckmans when he was back home after his severe crash in the Vuelta, was emotional. At Soudal we were all worried about him. When I visited him and saw that he would recover, it was very reassuring.”
Lionel Messi Scores Team Sky Treats
Sir Dave Brailsford and Pinarello president Fausto Pinarello have jetted over to Spain to present our most famous fan Lionel Messi with a personalized DOGMA F8 bike and Team Sky jersey.
The pair made the trip to FC Barcelona’s Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper training facility and met up with the likes of Neymar, Dani Alves and Luis Suarez before Messi was awarded with two very special gifts.
Messi – who is considered by many as the best footballer in the world – was delighted to receive his fully-customized kit, and is now the envy of his Nou Camp team-mates. The four-time Ballon d’Or winner was unable to take a ride on his new bike right away as he is recovering from a knee injury, but expect to see him hitting the Catalan roads in the weeks and months to come. It was Team Sky mechanic David Fernandez who brought the presentation about. Fernandez and Messi share a mutual friend who asked about the possibility of getting Lionel a bike. Fernandez – a huge football fan – contacted Pinarello and Rapha immediately, who were both more than happy to provide the gifts.
Both companies went beyond the call of duty. Pinarello provided a custom paint job to the F8 frame with Messi’s nickname and squad number embossed on the top tube, seat tube and forks, while Rapha printed the same details onto his sleeve as they do for our own staff and riders. Messi loved both designs and couldn’t believe his new bike featured electronic gears (again, the same Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 model our riders use). The 28 year old has followed cycling for a number of years and chatted about how he particularly loved watching the Tour de France mountain stages. Messi was interested in learning about the science behind the bike, and how Team Sky’s rigorous training program compared to his own. We can’t wait to see him using his kit and flying the Team Sky flag both in Spain and his native Argentina!
Good luck to the happy couple.
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