EUROTRASH Off-Season Thursday!
The season is over, but we can look forward to the Tour Down Under and enjoy some cyclo-cross and ‘6 Day’ racing. Don’t think about training in the cold and wet, catch up with the big cycling news stories: Britain to criminalize doping, ban for Santambrogio, Van der Haar’s cross calendar, Novo Nordisk and AG2R-La Mondiale 2016 roster, Basso’s new job, surgery for Vliegen, Tinkoff on holiday, contract news, Lotto Belisol U23 report card and you can ride a lap of the Zonhoven cyclo-cross. Big coffee time.
TOP STORY: Britain to Criminalize Sports Doping?
The British government is looking at the possibility of joining Spain, France and Italy in making doping in sport a criminal offense. At the moment UKAD handle doping controls in British sports and like all other anti-doping authorities they work closely with the sports federations and oversee the cases that arise. WADA is also happy that doping is not criminalized as they think the punishment of bans is enough, but the World authority does see that having criminal investigations can be a good thing in some cases.
This is were the big question arises: Is there difference between selling drugs to athletes and selling them to drug addicts? I can’t see it. So the selling of drugs should be criminalized. All drugs can ruin lives and can kill. A drug addict might be stealing things to fund their habit, whereas the athlete is stealing from their sponsor, race organizers, other competitors and in the end the public’s dreams. What about the end user? I don’t think you can refer to Lance Armstrong as a victim and in most cases the athletes knew what they were getting into, should they go to jail, or is that taking it too far.
Three Year Ban for Santambrogio
Mauro Santambrogio was tested during the 2013 Giro d’Italia and he was found to have EPO in his system and was banned from racing. During his ban he was tested in October 2014 under UCI rules that allows for rider who are banned to be tested during their suspension. The second test also came back positive, this time for testosterone. He has now been banned until October 2017.
At the time Santambrogio claimed that he was prescribed testosterone as he was trying to have a baby and was not, at the time, considering a comeback even though he was due to ride for Amore & Vita at the end of the year. Santambrogio also claims that he could not ask for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) as he was not a UCI license holder at the time.
Santambrogio has accepted the ban and has said that he accepts the ban, but that “I don’t think the ban is fair.” He is now coaching riders.
Lars van der Haar Aims for Strong Performance at European Championships
With two victories at the World Cup Valkenburg and Woerden; second place in Gieten; third in Ronse; and fifth at last weekend’s race in Zonhoven, the first full racing month of October can be described as successful for Team Giant-Alpecin’s Lars van der Haar (NED).
“October was a good month for me because I reached the podium several times and even took two victories,” said van der Haar. “I am very satisfied with my current level and my race at Valkenburg because it was one of my main goals for the season and I achieved it. November will be a hard month, starting this weekend with two races and next week with the European Championships, which is an important race on home ground, and the parcours suits me well.
“I hope to continue achieving good top-five results and for sure hope to take some more victories. For now I have to continue to work hard and stay healthy and fit until my short block of training at the beginning of December.”
November Race Calendar:
01/11/2015 – Oudenaarde, Belgium
07/11/2015 – European Championships: Huijbergen, the Netherlands
08/11/2015 – Ruddervoorde, the Netherlands
15/11/2015 – Asper Gavere, Belgium
22/11/2015 – Koksijde, Belgium
29/11/2015 – Hame Zogge, Belgium.
Team Novo Nordisk, the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team, will race its fourth season with a roster of 18 athletes from 10 countries. The total number of French and Dutch riders on the pro squad increases to four each, as Mehdi Benhamouda (FRA) moves up from the development team and stagiaire, Brian Kamstra (NED), joins the pro ranks for the 2016 season.
“Team Novo Nordisk is ready to take on our fourth season. Our results this year showcase the strength and growth of our athletes and we’re all excited to see what the team can accomplish in 2016,” Team Novo Nordisk CEO and co-founder Phil Southerland said. “We’re looking forward to another year of racing while inspiring, educating and empowering everyone around the world affected by diabetes.”
In order to become a member of Team Novo Nordisk, all athletes must have diabetes. Since its launch in December 2012, the organization has focused heavily on identifying and developing endurance athletes from around the world with diabetes, building junior and development squads totaling 30 athletes.
“The promotion of Mehdi from the development team exemplifies the depth and potential of our development program, which begins with the talent identification camps we hold each summer for young athletes. Mehdi came to one of our first camps in 2013, worked tremendously hard for the last two years as part of the development team and now he is the first rider from our talent ID program to sign with the pro squad. He has a very bright future ahead of him and I am very excited to watch him grow and succeed,” added Southerland.
Born in Carcassonne, France, Benhamouda began racing bikes when he was eight-years-old. He was invited to attend one of Team Novo Nordisk’s talent ID camps in 2013 and subsequently signed with Team Novo Nordisk’s development team, where he has raced for the past two years. The 20-year-old sprinter has earned consistent results, including wins at the HHC Rumble @ Roebling and Georgia Cycling Gran Prix Criterium and third at the Tulsa Tough Criterium and Grant Park Criterium.
Stagiaire, Brian Kamstra, who was discovered by fellow Dutchman and Team Novo Nordisk veteran rider, Martijn Verschoor, began riding for the Team Novo Nordisk development team in January 2015 and is being promoted to the pro squad for the 2016 season. The 22-year-old was a four-time Dutch national cross country runner and won the European Cross Country Running Championship in 2011 before switching over to the bike earlier this year.
“In order for the team to achieve long-term success and sustainability, we need to nurture our development program. Year after year we are seeing the fruit of our labor and this year we’re thrilled to add two strong riders to our pro squad. We are all excited about their potential and will support them as best as possible in the pro ranks,” Team Novo Nordisk Senior Vice President of Athletics Vassili Davidenko said. “The 2015 season has been our most successful to date and we’re looking ahead to 2016 with even higher goals. We have a strong team, from the athletes to the staff and management, and as we grow we expect more results, more wins and more jerseys.”
This season, the Team Novo Nordisk men’s professional squad competed in its first World Tour race, Milan-San Remo. The Italian race saw Andrea Peron (ITA) feature in the day’s main breakaway and the first four riders with diabetes finish the historic race. Across 43 races in 26 countries, Team Novo Nordisk earned its first win when Scott Ambrose (NZL) sprinted to victory on Stage 2 of the Tour de Filipinas and its best result to date at a UCI 2.HC race when Javier Megias (ESP) took second on Stage 6 of the USA Pro Challenge. As of October 27, 2015 the team has amassed a total of 34 top-10 finishes this year.
The full 2016 roster includes:
Andrea Peron – ITA, Ben Dilley – USA, Brian Kamstra – NED, Charles Planet – FRA, Chris Williams – AUS, Corentin Cherhal – FRA, David Lozano – ESP, Gerd de Keijzer – NED, James Glasspool – AUS, Javier Megias – ESP, Joonas Henttala – FIN, Kevin De Mesmaeker – BEL, Martijn Verschoor – NED, Mehdi Benhamouda – FRA, Nicolas Lefrançois – FRA, Ruud Cremers – NED, Scott Ambrose – NZL, Stephen Clancy – IRL.
Ivan Basso takes on role as Technical Coordinator for Tinkoff Team
After announcing his retirement as a professional rider, Ivan Basso is embarking on the next step of his already long career in cycling. Basso will assume the role as Technical Coordinator of Tinkoff Team, overseeing, developing and optimizing the collaboration between the athletes and technical functions. “A happy rider is a fast rider”, says Basso, who is currently with the squad at the team meeting in Poreč, Croatia.
Following the announcement in early October that he would end his racing career, Ivan Basso is already active in his new role in Tinkoff Team ahead of the 2016 season. The 37-year old Italian takes on his new function after 17 seasons as a pro and expresses his gratitude towards the team.
“I’m extremely happy and I thank the team owner Oleg Tinkov, the management of the team and the sports directors for their warm welcome in relations to this new role I will have within the team. It’s a very important opportunity for me to start a new path in my career. I will be the link and coordinator between the riders and the group of sports directors. I will ride with them, I will test the new material, the race courses and I will do whatever is necessary to help the team”, comments Ivan Basso.
As Head Sports Director of Tinkoff Team, Steven de Jongh underlines the team’s reasons for swiftly deploying Basso as Technical Coordinator.
“It’s a pleasure to formally welcome Ivan in his new role with the team. He is an integrated part of the squad and a great teammate and friend, so the transition has been very smooth during the last months. Ivan has just ended a long and notable career, so he’s obviously very well connected to the life as a pro cyclists and what it takes to perform”, states Steven de Jongh and adds:
“Ivan spent time with me during some of the races of the second part of the season and he’ll be following me during the first period. Surely, you need a lot of passion to do this job and Ivan has that so I’m very confident ahead of the next season. Without a doubt, a team like us can benefit from Ivan’s experience, when it comes to physiological, mental and technical aspects. He will take on a newly formed position on the team and I honestly can’t think of anybody else, who is more suited to take care of these responsibilities than Ivan”.
Dr. Michel Cerfontaine, Vliegen’s longtime sports doctor, diagnosed the issue at the CHR de la Citadelle in Liége, Belgium. The procedure will take place at Université catholique de Louvain Woluwe in Brussels under the supervision of Dr. Etienne Hoffer and Dr. Thierry Sluysmans.
“The BMC Racing Team has been in continual communication with Loïc and his treating physicians,” Dr. Testa said. “We are optimistic that we will have him back for next season.”
Vliegen said, “I am in good hands and am very grateful to Dr. Cerfontaine and the staff of Liège Citadelle.”
Jesse Sergent Finalizes the AG2R-La Mondiale 2016 Roster
New Zealander, Jesse Sergent is the last rider to come to the French WorldTour team for 2016 making a total of thirty riders plus Nans Peters from the 1st of August as a stagiere. Sergent rode for the Trek Livestrong development team before joining RadioShack as a stagiaire in 2010. In 2011 he won the overall and stages in the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen and Tour du Poitou Charentes and a stage in the ENECO Tour. The 2015 season was not so good due to being hit by a Shimano service car in the Tour of Flanders.
The AG2R-La Mondiale 2016 line-up is: Gediminas Bagdonas, Jan Bakelants, Romain Bardet, Julien Bérard, Guillaume Bonnafond, Mikael Cherel, Maxime Daniel, Nico Denz, Axel Domont, Samuel Dumoulin, Hubert Dupont, Ben Gastauer, Damien Gaudin, Alexis Gougeard, Patrick Gretsch, Hugo Houle, Quentin Jauregui, Blel Kadri, Pierre Latour, Sébastien Minard, Matteo Montaguti, Jean-Christophe Peraud, Nans Peters (from 1/8), Domenico Pozzovivo, Christophe Riblon, Sébastien Turgot, Johan Vansummeren, Alexis Vuillermoz. Plus new riders: Cyril Gautier (Europcar), Jesse Sergent (Trek) and stagiere from 2015; Francois Bidard.
Two New Riders for Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM
Colombian Leonardo Duque and Basque rider Mikel Aristi will be racing in 2016 for the French Professional Continental team; Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM. Duque is coming from Team Colombia-Coldeporte which had to stop at then of this season due to money problems. Previously he had ridden for Cofidis for seven seasons during his ten year professional career.
Aristi rode last year for the Fundación Euskadi-EDP team and in 2013 and 2014 had been part of Euskadi Continental. He won the Vuelta a Toledo overall, plus stages in the Tours of Coruña, Cantabria and the Classics of Laukiz, Segura and Escalante, and was Gipuzkoa time trial champion and second overall in the International Tour de Jura.
The Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM team was Vélo-Club La Pomme-Marseille, but with the sponsorship of Delko will be Professional Continental in 2016 along with other French teams: Cofidis, Direct Energie and Fortuneo Vital. Aslo joining the team are: Thierry Hupond, Yannick Martinez, Julien El Fares, Remy Di Gregorio, Benjamin Giraud and Daniel Diaz.
Kurt Van de Wouwer looks back on the season of the U23
Two weeks ago, the cycling season of the U23 riders came to an end. The Lotto Soudal U23 team can look back on a successful year. For the fourth time in a row, they won the Top Competition and with five riders who turn pro next year Kurt Van De Wouwer, responsible of the sports department, can be a happy man.
Kurt Van De Wouwer: “The boys rode a fantastic season. We won 26 times, what doesn’t come close to our record of 56, but when you look at the quality it was good. With a double Belgian title in time trialling, both in the U23 category (Ruben Pols) and in the Elite without a contract category (Frederik Frison), we can say that we dominated this discipline. The overall win at the Belgian Top Competition shows that we rode on a high level during the entire season.”
International strong performances
“This year, we gathered some beautiful results in stage races. Our strong man in these races was Laurens De Plus, he had an absolute top year. Personally, his victory in the Giro Vallée d’Aosta is qualitatively the most beautiful victory of the year. At Aosta, the competition is very strong and winning a stage in this tour isn’t easy. As a Belgian team, winning a stage and finishing second in the general classification is outstanding. Also in the Ronde de l’Isard, Laurens finished second. We got a lot of second places, this is a pity but showed that we battled for victory in all the stage races we rode. We give our riders many chances to race on international level and when they succeed to win stages, this is a big satisfaction.”
Five riders turn professional
Next to Laurens De Plus (Etixx – Quick-Step), also Dries Van Gestel, Kenneth Van Rooy and Ruben Pols (all Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Hayden McCormick (One Pro Cycling) turn pro next year. These boys achieved some big results both on national and international level. De Plus won a stage and finished on the second place on GC at Giro Vallée d’Aosta, he was fourth at Peace Race, second at Ronde de l’Isard, he won Gent-Staden, was second at Tour de Moselle, sixth at Tour Alsace and eighth at the Tour de l’Avenir. Van Gestel won a stage at the Carpathian Couriers Race, was third on GC at Tour de Moselle, second at Gooikse Pijl and fourth at Pars-Tours U23.
“Kenneth Van Rooy achieved a nice victory at the Tour of Liège, what’s a benchmark for Belgian teams. He became fourth at the European Championships and at Liège-Bastogne-Liège U23. He also gathered a series of top ten places. Also Ruben Pols rode a strong season and crowned this with a Belgian time trial title. McCormick became tenth at the New-Zealand nationals and Liège-Bastogne-Liège U23. These guys are strong riders and deserve to take the step to the pro category. Seeing riders turn pro is a proof that our way of working pays off.”
Young team in 2016
“With eleven first-year and seven second-year U23’s, we have a very young team next season. Our first-years are very talented. With Bjorn Lambrechts, we have the Belgian junior national champion in our team. Aaron Verwilst and Stan Dewulf shined at the European Championships for juniors and all the other riders have shown their qualities on all sorts of terrains. It’s hard to tell how they will process this transition. The guys born in 1995 for example, had it more difficult to adapt than the guys of 1996. We’ll see how they develop themselves during the season. We have to give them time to grow and I’m convinced that they will do well. We need to keep the team together for the next two years. The lack of experience will show during the UCI races, but at these races the older riders need to be the leaders.”
“The riders who become second-year U23, showed this season that they adapted well to the U23 category. Enzo Wouters, Milan Menten, Emiel Planckaert, Steff Cras, Senne Leysen and James Shaw all set some promising results. Wouters and Menten have a strong sprint and this already resulted in some victories. These boys can still do better next year. Cras and Planckaert are good climbers and Leysen is a strong time trialist.”
“Our last-year U23 riders are boys who have the potential to turn pro next year. Kevin Deltombe rode very strong at the end of the season and is supposed to continue that way next year. Also newcomer Edward Planckaert is a good rider and can be valuable next year. In 2016, we pull the card of the young riders. We have to wait and see how they adapt to the U23 category. Next season, together with the older riders, they form a strong team that can set some beautiful results.”
Tinkoff Team to hold initial 2016 meeting in Poreč, Croatia
The seaside resort of Valamar Diamant in Poreč will play host to the riders, sport directors, doctors, technical staff and management of Tinkoff Team from October 26th to 29th, in order to start planning and preparing for the 2016 season.
According to Stefano Feltrin, Managing Director of Tinkoff-Saxo, this meeting will signal the start of the “Tinkoff era” of the team. “With our rider roster now complete, we can focus on planning for 2016 and this four-day meeting will give us a head start. It will be an important first step in a long and challenging season and it will give our new riders the opportunity to get acquainted with the rest of the team. All riders will discuss next year’s racing schedule with the sport directors, they will have a thorough medical checkup and meet with a number of our technical suppliers”, stated Feltrin.
“We chose to come here because we found in Poreč and the Valamar Riviera group the perfect partners. Not only do Poreč and Istria provide the perfect setting, Valamar Diamant offers world-class facilities that meet the standards of any top-level professional sports team”, added Feltrin.
The final roster of Tinkoff Team for 2016 consists of 27 riders. In alphabetical order they are, Erik Baška, Daniele Bennati, Adma 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.
During their stay in Poreč, all riders will undergo a special medical examination at the Thalassotherapia Opatija clinic, which will also mark the first time that a top-level professional cycling team has opted for medical examination in a Croatian clinic.
“This is a very important event for Istria, Poreč, tourist company Valamar Riviera, Thalassotherapia Opatija clinic and in general for positioning Croatia on the global map of cycling. Taking into consideration the position, climate and the terrain characteristics, we have a great potential to become one of the top destinations for big cycling events”, stated Vladimir MIholjević, director of Top Sports Events, the company that is the main driver behind the initiative to bring Tinkoff-Saxo to Croatia.
Ivica Vrkić, Director of Marketing at Valamar Riviera also expressed his satisfaction with this visit: “We are very proud that Tinkoff-Saxo chose Porec and Valamar for its team meeting. This confirms that our work in developing cyclo-tourism has been set in the right direction and it will encourage us to continue with even stronger efforts aiming to take full advantage of the irrefutable potential our destinations from Istria to Dubrovnik have”.
“Our goal is to place Croatia on the map of the most prominent European destinations for cyclo-tourism. In the recent years, Istria is making huge steps forward as a destination that develops bike offer and Valamar is the leader of that trend, with the ambition to hold this position in the future. Our brand Valamar Loves Bike is present on the market for many years, we have developed 6 specialized bike hotels that offer the highest standards of service”, concluded Vrkić.
Once the four-day meeting concluded, the entire Tinkoff Team will gather again early December in Gran Canaria for a two-week training camp in one of the ANFI Group resorts.
Ride a Cyclo-Cross!
Have you always wanted to ride a cyclo-cross but didn’t want to get dirty? Well, now you can without getting covered in mud. In this video you can join Erwin Vervecken for a lap of the sandy course in Zonhoven from last Sunday’s Superprestige.
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