EUROTRASH Tour Down Under Thursday!
The teams are arriving in Adelaide for the Tour Down Under and in Argentina for San Luis, news from both races. Operación Puerto is the Top Story as it (maybe) comes to an end and in other cycling news: Chris Froome and Jasper De Buyst extend contracts, Sky go Ford, new bike for Wanty-Groupe Gobert, introducing Team Dimension Data and the Tour de Pologne is nominated for Poland’s Sporting Event of the Year. Loads to catch up with in EuroTrash Thursday.
TOP STORY: Operación Puerto, an End in Sight?
It looks like Operatión Puerto might be over sometime soon as Madrid’s Provincial Court is to announce its verdict on the appeals lodged by WADA and the UCI against the destruction of around 200 blood bags, which have been stored in a freezer in the anti-doping lab of the Institut Hospital del Mar d’Investigacions Mèdique, Barcelona. If they are destroyed, that will be the end of the story, apart from the accusations of a cover up.
On the other hand, if the blood bags do survive the court case, then the next move will be to find out who gets access to the blood and what they will do with them. If the bags have the athletes names on them, identifying who they belong to will be easy, but what is the chances of that? The Guardia Civil who made the original raid also took computer and paper evidence that could help with the name codes. Otherwise DNA would be the answer. The big question is: Will we ever find out the identities of the athletes? I fear not. There will be big names and there will be a lot of pressure to quash the results. There was a list of names circulating after the original investigation was revealed, some were surprising, some not, but you won’t read them here as those mentioned are very likely to go to court.
One way or the other, it will all be over soon… maybe.
Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes and the shadow of doping (no sound):
Options abound for Argyle Armada at Tour Down Under
Cannondale Pro Cycling Team has assembled in Adelaide with a strong all-around squad capable of performing over the varied terrain served up by the Santos Tour Down Under. The Argyle Armada plans to target the sprint stages alongside a top ten on the general classification in the WorldTour season opener.
“We selected a team that would provide us for options on every stage,” said head sport director Charly Wegelius. “Our specific objectives will be shaped on the road, but we have distinct roles in mind for every rider.”
Wouter Wippert will make his debut in argyle at the Tour Down Under as part of Cannondale Pro Cycling Team’s seven-man squad. A stage winner in Adelaide last year, Wippert hopes to snag a second sprint victory in the opening race on the WorldTour calendar.
“It’s good to be back in Adelaide, the place where it all started last year with my first WorldTour win,” said Wippert. “For this year, the goal is the same – start the season with a win on one of the stages. The whole team is very motivated. I’m looking forward to next week when we’ll try to get the win together in green.”
While Wippert offers the American-registered squad options in the sprints, Simon Clarke has his sights set on the general classification. The Australian, who will line up for his tenth Tour Down Under start, will also serve as road captain in the WorldTour season opener.
Alberto Bettiol, newly crowned New Zealand time trial champion Paddy Bevin, Moreno Moser, Michael Woods and Ruben Zepuntke join Wippert and Clarke in Adelaide.
“In addition to having riders that could win on any stage, we have multiple riders that could contend for the overall,” noted Wegelius. “This first race of the year is important for any team, and our riders come prepared and motivated.”
“The home team and the teams with former winners start with big expectations,” Wegelius added. “We hope to profit off teams that have far more pressure than we do.”
Multiple opportunities exist to meet Cannondale Pro Cycling Team riders during their time in Adelaide.
Hang with the Argyle Armada:
16 January 4-5PM
Bicycle Express (124 Halifax Street)
All team autograph session at local Cannondale dealer
16 January 6:15PM
TDU Village – main stage
Official team presentation
18 January 5-6PM
Cycle Closet (122 Pirie Street)
All team autograph session at local POC dealer
post-race // times vary
TDU Village – Cannondale tent
Rider meet-and-greet with two riders
Times and riders vary daily
Details to be announced via team twitter (@ride_argyle)
Cannondale Pro Cycling Team for Santos Tour Down Under:
Alberto Bettiol, Paddy Bevin, Simon Clarke, Moreno Moser, Wouter Wippert, Michael Woods Ruben Zepuntke.
Santos Tour Down Under – A stage win for IAM Cycling
ANALYSIS: “You can say that the Tour Down Under really kicks off the road racing season every year. And in an attempt to be true to our commitment to produce the best performances possible from IAM Cycling in 2016, our goal for this race will be to aim for a top-3 overall and a stage victory.” In line with the objectives laid out by Rik Verbrugghe few weeks earlier, Kjell Carlström, directeur sportif for the Swiss professional team, will be working on the ground in Australia with the team and remains confident in the group of riders IAM Cycling will have on the starting line for the first stage on Tuesday, January 19th.
THE CHALLENGE: Leigh Howard, new this season to the team founded by Michel Thétaz, CEO of IAM (manager of IAMFUNDS.CH investment firm), hopes to be able to make a contribution to building the squad’s search for success at the major Australian race: “I want give a 100% effort to help our sprinter Matteo Pelucchi grab a victory at this race,” Howard confided. “But I also want to be useful in general to the entire team day in and day out. I’m here primarily to work for the success of the team.”
THE NUMBER: 35. That’s the number in Celsius that the thermometer displayed in Adelaide on Monday. For some, including IAM Cycling’s Leigh Howard, the main challenge will come in their attempts to adjust to the heat. It is a factor that will make Kjell Carlström’s mission that much more complicated, particularly considering he will be coming from the -29˚ C that Finland suffered on Friday. The directeur sportif could be looking forward to some serious thermal shock.
People’s Choice Classic (17 Jan)
Santos Tour Down Under (19 Jan – 24 Jan)
Cadel Evans Great Ocean Race (31 Jan)
Marcel Aregger (S), Leigh Howard (Aus), Roger Kluge (All), Jarlinson Pantano (Col), Matteo Pelucchi (It), Aleksejs Saramotins (Let), David Tanner (Aus).
Reserve: Simon Pellaud (S)
Directeur sportif: Kjell Carlström.
People’s Choice Classic
Held on the streets of Adelaide, the People’s Choice Classic is a circuit race that serves as a preview to the Santos Tour Down Under, setting the stage for the week ahead. The 51km criterium will be held this Sunday, Jan. 17.
“For this year’s edition our focus will be on attacking,” said coach Aike Visbeek (NED). “With Koen and Bert we have two fast guys who can go for a result if it comes down to a sprint.”
Bert De Backer (BEL), Simon Geschke (GER), Cheng Ji (CHN), Carter Jones (USA), Koen de Kort (NED), Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE), Georg Preidler (AUT).
Coach: Aike Visbeek (NED).
Santos Tour Down Under
The 2016 road season officially gets underway in Australia with the first WorldTour race of the year, the six-stage Santos Tour Down Under. After five road stages, with distances ranging from 130.8km to 151.5km, the race finishes with a 4.5km circuit race through the heart of Adelaide.
Coach Aike Visbeek (NED) said: “Simon had some minor knee problems leading up to the race, which have since been resolved. But because of that, we have been forced to change our plans a bit. Tobias showed some good progress last year and during the winter training camps, and he will get the opportunity to go for a good GC result. With Georg and Carter we have two climbers to support Tobias in the important GC stages.
“On the flat stages, Koen and Bert will go for their chances in the sprints. We will apply more offensively oriented tactics because obviously we aren’t among the clear favorites for the overall win.”
Bert De Backer (BEL), Simon Geschke (GER), Cheng Ji (CHN), Carter Jones (USA), Koen de Kort (NED), Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE), Georg Preidler (NED).
Coach: Aike Visbeek (NED).
Peter Sagan and Rafal Majka to open Tinkoff season in Tour de San Luis
Tinkoff will open the 2016 season with the Argentinean race that has grown in recent years to become South America’s most prominent event. From January 18th to 24th, the team, led by Peter Sagan and Rafal Majka, will take on its first challenge of the season.
Tinkoff will kick off its new season with an overseas race that has become the opener for many professional top teams which, by taking advantage of the favorable weather conditions, can assess the form of their riders.
This race has increasingly become a global showcase for emerging Latin American riders who, thanks to the opportunity provided by worldwide visibility and a chance to compete alongside the world’s best riders, earned themselves a place in the big WorldTour teams.
Now into its tenth edition, the Tour de San Luis is scheduled from January 18th to 24th and features seven stages with a total distance of 921.7 km to be covered.
Tinkoff will send a versatile squad with World Champion Peter Sagan and Rafal Majka as the marquee riders. They will be joined by Maciej Bodnar, Jesper Hansen, Pawel Poljanski and Nikolay Trusov.
The first stage, for the first time in the race history, will be a team time trial of 21 kilometers on a slightly hilly course (El Duranzo).
Two stages feature an uphill climb to the finish, the fourth stage arrives at Cerro El Feint (1,710m) while the sixth stage ventures up to Sierras Comechingones and Filo (2,140m) providing the first Grand Tour test for the climbers.
“It will be my first participation in Tour de San Luis. I heard it’s a great and well-organized race and I think it will be a good starting point for my 2016 season. I consider the Tour de San Luis as one of my preparatory races, however Tinkoff will have a strong leader. I’m excited to start my new racing season in Argentina!”, commented Rafal Majka.
The remaining stages are marked by a relatively flat course, an excellent opportunity for the team sprinters.
“I look forward to the upcoming rainbow season,” says Peter Sagan. “I am also delighted to launch it at such a nice event – Tour de San Luis offers the best conditions to obtain a bit of racing pace. If I feel my legs in good form, I will also try to sprint for the first win of this season”.
Patxi Vila, leading sports director for Tinkoff in Argentina, commented on the race: “The team will structure itself depending on whether it is a mountain or sprint stage. In that sense, Peter Sagan is Tinkoff’s obvious option for the sprints, even if it is still too early. In fact, as this is the opening race of the season, it’s by far too early for all the riders.”
“We could achieve a good result in the team time-trial since we have three riders most suited to it, Bodnar, Sagan and Trusov. The second stage and, in particular, the third one could favor Peter since it doesn’t have a very steep finish, so hopefully he will be in the first group and be able to sprint for the win,” commented Vila.
“In the fourth and sixth stages, Rafal Majka and Jesper Hansen could be our front men. At the Gran Canaria training camp we saw that Hansen was in good physical condition. In what regards Majka, his main objective this season is the Giro d’Italia, therefore it is too early for him to get in top shape now. The same holds for Poljanski. These three riders will be the ones to take up the reins in the mountains but we will adapt our strategy at each stage. We expect a strong performance by a number of South American riders, Colombians or Argentineans, who will be at their peak form and it might be difficult for us to win. Our main target is to keep improving the preparation of our riders for the season’s big goals and take our chances whenever we can.”
“We will adapt our strategy and tactics after every stage. We will approach the race day by day, but of course we are a top professional sports team, and the desire to win is also part of our DNA,” concluded Vila.
Lampre-Merida in Argentina, with Mohoric at his debut
For the start of the 2016 season, Lampre-Merida will race in Australia (Tour Down Under) and at the same time in Argentina, participation in the Tour de San Luis (18-24 January).
The sports director Orlando Maini will manage a selection of 6 riders: Mattia Cattaneo, Davide Cimolai, Roberto Ferrari, Ilia Koshevoy, Matej Mohoric & Jan Polanc (three Italian cyclists, two Slovenian athletes and one Byelorussian).
The South American race will start with a TTT, which will be followed by stage which will give opportunities for every rider: three stages for the sprinters, two for the climbers and one which is characterized by a mixed course.
This is the list of the stages:
18/1, 1st stage: El Durazno-El Durazno (TTT, 21 km)
– 19/1, 2nd stage: San Luis-Villa Mercedes (181,9 km)
– 20/1, 3rd stage: Potreros de los Funes-La Punta (131 km)
– 21/1, 4th stage: San Luis-Cerro de Amago (140 km)
– 22/1, 5th stage: Renca-Juana Koslay (168,7 km)
– 23/1, 6th stage: La Toma-Filo Sierras Comechingones (159,5 km)
– 24/1, 7th stage: San Luis-San Luis (119,6 km)
The goals of Lampre-Merida, whose selection for the race is characterized by a low average age (25 years old) will be confirmation of the fit of its riders, who trained profitably during the winter break, and the attempt of being protagonist on every arrival. Cimolai and Ferrari will improve their feeling in the sprints, Cattaneo, Koshevoy and Polanc will try to exploit the opportunities in the more demanding stages.
There will be also a high interest in the debut of Matej Mohoric in Lampre-Merida.
Contract extension for De Buyst, who is on his way to the track World Cup in Hong Kong
Jasper De Buyst has left for Hong Kong, where the last track World Cup of the season takes place next weekend, he’ll ride the omnium. That is the event in which he aims for a medal at the Olympics in August later this year. Last week Jasper prepared the World Cup at the track in Ghent (Vlaams Wielercentrum Eddy Merckx).
Jasper De Buyst: “Just before a big race we have a training camp with the Belgian cycling federation. Before the World Championships in March we’ll go to Portugal for a few days, now we trained in Ghent. Only Jolien D’hoore and I were there so there was lots of time for intensive trainings. When you train with a larger group you have to wait longer before it’s your turn again, now that went more smoothly of course. During such a preparation it’s important to focus on the things you need to improve. Racing on the road has boosted my endurance, but I have lost some speed and it’s important to gain that back for the track. That’s why last week, I focused on speed and short sprints. After the Worlds in March I’ll ride the Flemish spring races, but I will keep training on the track in the meantime.”
“Next weekend I will ride the omnium at the World Cup in Hong Kong. It’s the third and last World Cup of the season, but the first I take part in. In the past I contested all World Cups and the European and World Championships. That means you have to perform from October till the end of February, or the beginning of March in this case. In between the World Cups there isn’t enough time to take some rest, so by the end of the season you are really tired. It’s too much to then be top for the Olympics in August as well.”
In Hong Kong and the World Championships in London (2 – 6 March) there are still points to gain for the Olympic qualification; maximum 150 at the World Cup and 300 at the Worlds. A county only gets to select one rider for the omnium at the Olympics and has to be in the top eighteen of the Olympic ranking; besides that there are only eight European countries that can take part. At the moment Belgium is eighth overall, as fifth European country.
Jasper De Buyst: “It’s certain that we will be one of the first eighteen countries in the ranking, in theory it’s still possible that we don’t end up in the top eight of Europe, but I don’t worry about that. In the past we were higher in the ranking, that’s true, now we’re the fifth European country. The third European and eighth European country are close. Between Belgium and Russia, the ninth European nation in the ranking, there is a difference of 114 points. With a good result in Hong Kong we’ll set another important step towards Rio and then we still have the World Championships, so we’ll be alright.”
“In first instance, I go to the World Cup to set a strong performance in the race itself, I don’t think too much about the points. If we were the eighth European country that would be different, but now there is enough lead. When I start in a race I always want to do well. I aim for the best possible result I can get in Hong Kong and the podium would be nice for the morale. Since the Ghent Six-Day in November I didn’t often train on the track, but I feel good and the data on the SRM Powermeter confirm it.”
2016 has to be the peak in his track career, afterwards Jasper want to focus on the road. And also next season that will be in Lotto Soudal outfit. His two-year contract has been extended till the end of 2017.
Jasper De Buyst: “The contract I signed two years ago offered me nice perspectives. I got the opportunity to chase my Olympic dream and I could combine this with racing on the road; that went really well. After my track adventure I want to build a career on the road, there’s no question about that. The Flemish spring races seem to best suit my physical capacities.”
“It’s reassuring that I already have a contract for the year after the Olympics. It’s great that the team shows it wants to give me the opportunity to prove myself on the road as well. Lotto Soudal lets young riders discover all types of races and allows us to learn from our mistakes. You get the chance to contest races just to help your development. Last year’s Vuelta was pretty hard, but it made me set a step forward.”
Team Sky set out its ambitions for 2016 as it announced that team leader Chris Froome would be extending his contract to the end of 2018.
Speaking at the Team’s Training Camp in Mallorca Sir Dave Brailsford, Team Principal said: “Last year we set out our 2020 Vision. At its heart lies the goal to become indisputably and consistently the greatest cycling team in the world – and to be viewed as one of the best sports teams in the world.
“By 2020, when we look back on the decade, we want Team Sky to be seen as the most consistent and successful Grand Tour team as well as one that is regularly winning Classics. 2015 was a good year and I am proud of what we achieved together but our appetite for success has never been greater.
“Our focus is always on continuous improvement and what we can do better. We must challenge ourselves every day to push harder for more success in 2016 on and off the bike – and I believe that we have the team that can deliver that. It is a really strong group of riders with the best talent from Britain and abroad. Their different strengths give us real depth and more options.
“At the same time, Team Sky will continue to play a leadership role in moving the sport of cycling forward to a brighter future – innovating, riding clean and winning clean. We will work with the UCI and others and push for further reform to continue to rebuild trust in the sport.
“None of our success to date would have been possible without Sky as a partner. They have done a huge amount for cycling, not just with the Team, but at grass roots level – helping more people fall in love with the bike. They have got exciting plans for the year ahead and we will be giving them all of our support.”
Team Sky also announced that team leader Chris Froome will be extending his contract with the Team until the end of 2018.
Sir Dave Brailsford added: “Chris is not only one of the most talented and dedicated riders in the world, he is also a fantastic ambassador for the sport. Team Sky is proud to have him as our team leader. He is a winner and it is a great boost at the start of the new season that he has committed to stay with the Team to the end of 2018. He is hungry for more success and we will help him achieve it.”
Chris Froome said: “Team Sky have been fundamental to my success to date, so it was a very easy decision to commit to the Team until the end of 2018. Their values are my values and I am proud to ride for a team that has shown that you can win the biggest bike races in the world clean. 2015 was a fantastic year for me both professional and personally and this is a great kick start to 2016. I am more motivated than I have ever been and I have got big targets for this Olympic year. I can’t wait to start racing.”
Introducing Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka
Cycling fans may already have noted that Team MTN-Qhubeka has become Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka from the start of 2016. While the team’s title sponsor and team colors have changed, its dedication to supporting Qhubeka has not, and we are excited to see what 2016 holds through the team’s continued commitment to the #BicyclesChangeLives campaign, which will again seek to raise funds for bicycles for 5,000 people in Qhubeka’s work-to-earn programs.
“We’re thrilled that the team will become the first ever UCI World Tour Team from the African continent and we hope that their new journey on the World Tour circuit will expose Qhubeka’s work to even more people than previously,” says Qhubeka Executive Director, Sarah Phaweni. “We are thankful to Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka and its sponsors, including Dimension Data, Deloitte and Cervélo, for their passion in helping us to change more lives with bicycles through our projects. We wish the team every success in achieving their goals this year, and look forward to cheering them on as they continue to bring African cycling into the world spotlight, as well as the work we do at Qhubeka and World Bicycle Relief.”
Douglas Ryder, Team Principal, says that 2016 is the biggest step in the team’s history to date. “The first division or World Tour in cycling requires depth and consistency and I am confident that our riders and staff are ready for this incredible challenge. Most importantly ,we have been fortunate to receive support from the most incredible partners in so many areas and on so many levels on and off the bike. Our partners will help this team move forward successfully and ensure that the Qhubeka Charity remains at the forefront of everything we do as we continue to accelerate the ambitions of African cycling and make an impact that matters in the communities.”
Brett Dawson, Dimension Data’s Group CEO reflected on the rapid developments for the company within cycling, saying, “In the past 10 months since Dimension Data entered the world of professional cycling, ASO [organizer of the Tour de France and other major sporting events] appointed us as its Official Technology Partner. Then in July, we became a sponsor of Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung. Now, we‘re very excited to officially become the title partner of Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka. We’re looking forward to accelerating the Qhubeka Charity and the ambitions of this amazing team as we continue to support their iconic rise from being one of the five wild-card teams invited to ride at last year‘s Tour de France for the first time, to becoming the first team on the African continent to participate in the UCI World Tour this year.”
Keep up to date with Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka with the following new contact details:
YouTube: Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka
Hashtags: #TeamDimensionData; #AfricasTeam; #BicyclesChangeLives
The Tour de Pologne is Nominated Poland’s Sporting Event of the Year
Czeslaw Lang one of the Top10 most influential people in the world of Polish sport.
Warsaw, 11 January, 2016 – The organizational apparatus is already working at full speed on the 2016 edition, but in the meantime the Tour de Pologne has received important recognition that rewards and underscores the fantastic job carried out in 2015. The Tour de Pologne has been elected the best Polish sports event of 2015. This prestigious prize was created and is awarded every year by “Przeglad Sportowy,” the main sports daily in Poland as well as one of the original inventors of the Tour de Pologne. It’s a prize aimed at highlighting the athletes and great sporting events that enjoy success in Polish territory. It is the second longest-standing award in this sector in the world. The first one was established in Sweden in 1925, while in Poland it’s been around since 1926. During the ceremony, the public chose from 20 nominees to vote for the 10 best Polish athletes (8th place for Rafal Majka). The event was broadcast live on the TVP television network.
The Tour de Pologne received further satisfaction in seeing its General Director, Czeslaw Lang, in the Top10 list of the most inspiring personalities in Polish sport, which appeared in the Polish edition of Forbes economic and financial magazine (the list was drawn up in association with Pentagon Research). Czeslaw Lang appeared 9th on the list, along with world class sports stars like the Bayern Monaco bomber Robert Lewandowski (1st) tennis ace Agnieszka Radwanska (3rd) skiing long jump legend Adam Malysz (6th) and women’s skier Justyna Kowalczyk (8th). Besides Lang, only two other people in the Top10 are not current athletes: President of Poland’s Football Federation Zbigniew Boniek (2nd) and Zygmunt Solorz (7th), owner of the Cyfrowy Polsat TV platform. The list assigned two stars from Polish cycling, Michal Kwiatkowski and Rafal Majka (winner of the 2014 TDP) to 31st and 38th place, respectively.
“These awards are two fantastic accomplishments that testify as to how cycling is taking on an increasingly important role in the economy of Polish sports. Edition after edition, we are achieving more and more impressive results. This is reflected in the TV audience numbers and particularly by the constant growth in the enthusiasm that orbits around the race and around cycling in general, along with the great development of the Polish cycling movement in terms of teams and riders. The Tour de Pologne comes to life on the road, over the countryside and through the towns and cities; it comes to our houses through TV, radio, newspapers and the web. It’s an event that belongs to the people; that inspires children to dream through the feats of its champions. It ignites the souls of fans and enthusiasts of all ages. The love of the crowd – this is the secret of cycling’s success,” emphasizes Czeslaw Lang.
Wanty-Groupe Gobert presents new CUBE bike
Wanty-Groupe Gobert is proud to reveal the new CUBE Litening C:68 the team will use during the 2016 season. One year ago the Belgian procontinental cycling team and the German bike manufacturer started this new partnership. Both parties are very happy with how the partnership worked out in 2015 and look forward to the 2016 season.
“Working with Wanty-Groupe Gobert is one of the best decisions we’ve made”, says CUBE’s Chris Archer. “Our engineers and designers are in daily contact with the team, allowing feedback from riders and mechanics to go straight into the ongoing development of our road products. The team’s performance last year was excellent and, with several new international riders, the upcoming season is looking equally promising. The expected number of 2016 wildcard invitations simply confirms the quality of the team we’re working with – both the riders and the management.”
Roy Jans was one of Wanty-Groupe Gobert’s most successful riders in 2015. With a victory in the cold Etoile de Bessèges and podium places in prestigious races like the Brussels Cycling Classic and the Münsterland Giro, the Belgian sprinter knows what his bike has to endure.
“For a sprinter like myself a stiff frame is the most important thing. I have been using the new CUBE Litening C:68 during my training camp in Gran Canaria. Despite the fact I made a lot of altitude meters there and did no sprint training, I can already feel the bike is stiffer. It reacts well when I am out of the saddle to climb. For a sprinter the bike needs to be stiff at the bracket and the new CUBE Litening C:68 most certainly is. I can’t wait to test it in the sprints this season,” Jans said.
For its bikes CUBE uses the highly innovative C:68 carbon technology which requires less resin and has a higher fibre content of 68%. This minimizes weight while increasing stiffness at the same time without any compromise to safety. Next to the C:68 road bikes, Wanty-Groupe Gobert will use the CUBE Aerium time trial bikes.
Frames: CUBE Litening C:68 / CUBE Aerium
Group sets: Shimano Dura Ace
Saddles: Selle San Marco
Bearings: C-Bear ceramic bearings
Bottle cages: Tacx Deva
· Ford Motor Company enters a multi-year partnership agreement with Team Sky to become the elite cycling team’s exclusive supplier of cars and vans
· The three-time Tour de France winners will feature Ford’s latest vehicles to support its racing and non-racing program
· Team Sky to drive Ford Mondeo wagon, S-MAX sports activity vehicle and Kuga SUV, plus Tourneo Custom people mover and Transit van
Ford today announced a new multi-year partnership agreement with Team Sky as the elite cycling team’s exclusive supplier of cars and vans.
Team Sky, which has won the legendary Tour de France three times in the past four years with Chris Froome and Sir Bradley Wiggins, will be using Ford’s latest vehicles to support its racing program from the start of 2016. This will include the three annual Grand Tour events comprising the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España.
“Our new partnership with Team Sky is a fantastic opportunity to embrace this vibrant sport, and to connect with a new audience of passionate cycling fans,” said Anthony Ireson, director, Marketing Communication, Ford of Europe. “This partnership enables us to showcase Ford’s latest products right at the heart of the action to both the avid cycling fans that line the route of these incredible road races and those that tune in from around the world.”
The partnership agreement affords Team Sky access to a range of Ford vehicles to provide specific support for all key areas of the Team Sky racing and non-racing program.
Liveried in the distinctive blue and black Team Sky colors, the most visible cars in the peloton will be the Ford Mondeo wagons used by the team’s sports directors and team mechanics. These will be joined by a range of other Ford vehicles with the in-car technologies for any race and any environment.
All Kuga sports utility vehicles and S-MAX sports activity vehicles, as well as two of the Mondeo Wagons will be equipped with Ford’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive technology ready for tough Belgian cobbles or Alpine descents. This technology measures how the car’s wheels are gripping the road surface and can adjust torque delivery between the front and rear wheels in under 20 milliseconds.
“Ford is the perfect partner for Team Sky, sharing our core values of combining technology and innovation to meet the specific and often varied demands needed in any high performance environment,” said Sir David Brailsford, team principal at Team Sky. “As we embark on our racing program, Ford’s range of vehicles will play a vital role for Team Sky delivering the right car for the right environment as we strive towards even greater success and more race wins in 2016 and beyond.”
The Ford-Team Sky partnership kicks off in late-January in its first race of the European season at the Majorca Challenge races, starting on Thursday Jan. 28.
The 2015 Santos Tour Down Under. The ProMo for the 2016 event in Adelaide, South Australia.
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