What's Cool In Road Cycling

EuroTrash TTT Thursday!

No racing to report on during the week, but there is a load of other cycling news to get our teeth into this morning. Will the World team time trial split from the other races, no Alonso team, Lampre-Merida make announcements and as much rider and team news as we could squeeze in. A good read with a good coffee.

header-richmond15TOP STORY: No Worlds TTT in Richmond and Qatar?
Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reported that the UCI was thinking of not having the World team time trail in Richmond and Doha, the venues of the next two championships. The estimated cost of taking a team to either of the World championships has been estimated at around €35,000. The WorldTour teams are obligated to ride, but ProContinental squads don’t and the worry is that they would not spend the money to compete in a race they have no chance of winning or even finishing in the top ten.

The plan is to hold the team time trial championships in Europe for those two years, but many thing this would devalue the competition and spell the end of the TTT as a World event. Plus you have to remember that many of the top team ride US bikes; Cannondale, Trek and Specialized, plus the US market is big for companies like BMC, Merida, Cervelo and all the others. The Worlds are a great showroom for the bikes and the time trial bikes also appeal to the triathlete market.

The WorldTour team have to spend a lot of money to go to Australia, Canada and Beijing and also choose to ride in the US, China and Argentina which are not cheap to get to. So even if only the 18 WorldTour team ride it would still be a great show and wouldn’t change the result.

The 2014 TTT Championships in Ponferrada:

header-alonsoNo Alonso Team in 2015
It looks like everything that the riders’ agents were saying months ago about the chances of there being a Fernando Alonso cycling team were correct. To the point of one of them promising to buy dinner, no one believed it was going to happen. Things went very quiet after the Tour de France with the team saying that they were following UCI rules over signing riders. On September the 1st the team paid 16,000 Swiss Francs to apply for a team race license, they had a month to lodge money guarantees and submit at least ten rider contracts, but come the 1st of October, nothing. Team manager Paolo Bettini spoke recently to ProCycling Norway and confirmed that there will not be a team in 2015, he said: “The Alonso project has been completely put on hold for reasons I cannot elaborate on. I still do not know about their intentions for the future.” The big question has to be why did he start the whole thing? Was it just the whim of a rich man who likes cycling? One thing for sure is that not many in the peloton will trust him.

Stage-2  of the Dubai Tour 2014

header_lampre-meridaTwo More Years for Lampre-Merida
The profitable experience in Tour of Hainan has just closed the 2014 season and Team Lampre-Merida is going to start working in order to prepare for 2015 counting on the renewed trust by the main sponsors.

Lampre-Merida welcomed the agreements for the prolongation of the sponsorships with Lampre Srl and Merida Bikes. The commercial director Giuseppe Saronni and the team manager Brent Copeland are satisfied by having the opportunity to go on with the cycling project thanks to the support by the Italian pre-laminated steel company and by the Taiwanese bike manufacturer. Lampre will grant for the twenty-first cycling season the contribution of passion and competence, adding to the blue-fuchsia-green group an enthusiastic participation that becomes deeper and deeper year by year. Merida adds an international flavor and appeal to the team’s activity, besides the top level support for what concerns the technological side that places Lampre-Merida in the first line in cycling.

These two confirmations are a direct recognition to the high quality of the blue-fuchsia-green roster and grant the basis that are necessary for the development of the young talented riders that, during the current season, gave satisfactions to the team.

Emanuele Galbusera (Lampre sales director and president of the team) explained that: “The Lampre company continues to cover its path in the professional cycling world, already focusing the attention on the 2015 season with the aim of living great emotions. Together with Merida we’ll ride along a path aimed to a continuous improvement, to reach new and important goals, following the right balance between tradition and innovation. On behalf of the whole Lampre srl group, I thank all the fans that show their passion for the cycling and their support to Team Lampre-Merida.”

Merida’s vice president William Jeng is glad to announce the following: “We are very happy about the excellent cooperation with the team management including the team owner Giuseppe Saronni, team manager Brent Copeland and the Galbusera family. The feedback from the team and its riders has been of great value for Merida to further optimise our road bikes. Our company has entered the WorldTour with Team Lampre-Merida, and after two seasons we can only come to a thoroughly positive summary of this cooperation. The team has been improving its performance, and its line-up has been getting more and more international. We therefore are excited to announce that as per next year Team Lampre-Merida will have two professional riders from Asia in its line-up. After China’s Xu Gang, Chun Kai Feng is going to join its ranks for 2015. He will be the first rider from Taiwan to compete at cycling’s highest level, the WorldTour. All of this has convinced Merida to extend the existing title sponsor contract until the end of 2016 early on.”

The first appointment for 2015 season will be the traditional team meeting in Darfo Boario Terme (Italy), that is scheduled for the first week of December.

Lampre-Merida – Action Movie:

header-lottonl-jumboNot Too Yellow!
According to the LottoNL-Jumbo team their kit for 2015 is not too yellow for the UCI to approve. It was being suggested that the jersey would clash with yellow leaders’ jerseys and the UCI would reject the design. If you think back; the ONCE jersey was all yellow, but they changed to pink for the Tour de France and the new team has said they too will have a second colour for the Tour. Tinkoff-Saxo is also mostly yellow, although they too changed for the Tour this year using a fluo yellow.

Looks OK to me!
Foto: Sander Chamid

header-lottobelisolWorldTour Licence for Lotto Belisol
The management of the Lotto Belisol team announced on Wednesday morning that the UCI had given the team a WorldTour licence for 2015 for the Belgian team. Next year the team will be known as Lotto Soudal.
The press release simply said: “The UCI has awarded a WorldTour licence to Lotto Belisol for 2015. The licence has to be obtained annually and is based on sporting, ethical, financial and administrative criteria.”

GCN go inside a Tour De France team hotel with Lotto-Belisol And Sky:

header-uciProConti Teams Announced
The UCI have released a list of the ProContinental teams for the 2015 season. They have all passed the tests based on financial, ethical and administrative criteria.
The teams are:
Androni, Bardiani CSF, Bora-Argon 18 (ex-NetApp-Endura), Bretagne Seche Environment, CCC Polkowice, Cofidis Solutions Credits, Cult Energy Pro Cycling, Drapac Professional Cycling, Nippo-Vini Fantini, Roompot Orange Cycling Team, RusVelo, Team Novo Nordisk, TopSport Vlaanderen, UnitedHealthCare Professional Cycling Team, Wanty Groupe Gobert and Yellow Fluo. The surprise inclusion being Yellow Fluo who’s ethics are questionable. Missing are MTN-Qhubeka and IAM Cycling and Colombia, there is the possibility that one of them might move up to WorldTour. In the case of Colombia there has been questions about the finances, but that is said to be a formality.

New team on the block, Roompot Orange Cycling Team were introduced at the Eneco Tour this year:

header-tinkoffsaxoValgren Looking to Take Another Step up after Successful 2014-Season
Tinkoff-Saxo’s Michael Valgren has had an impressive season. The neo-pro was crowned Danish national champion in late June and won Tour of Denmark in August. In total, the 22-year old Dane has had ten top-5 results during 2014 and finished off the season with a 4th place in the final sprint of Japan Cup after a year of dedicated work for the team.

But Valgren reckons that there’s more to come in 2015, if he continues to work hard and learn from his trainers and teammates. “The off-season will first and foremost be about recovering and relaxing in between activities. But with that being said, I really want to take another big step in my career in 2015 and use the momentum I have right now. But I think that it will come automatically with the sport directors, trainers and experienced riders that we have on the team,” says Michael Valgren after concluding his season.

Besides playing the role as valuable domestique, Valgren has also showed his abilities to create results. He plans on using his current momentum to improve his chances in the future. “I want to improve in many aspects, both on the shorter climbs, the sprints, my endurance… Everything if I have to be honest. I would like to gradually evolve into the kind of rider that Sagan is, a rider that can go for the win in the classics, hard sprinter’s stages and short stage races. At least that’s my objective, and I’m prepared to work hard to realize that dream. The most important part is following the advices I get and work for the team, while seizing the opportunities, when I get to ride my own chance,” Valgren adds.


TDFR 2014 - tage 2Vincenzo Nibali awarded Mendrisio d’Oro
Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) has been awarded the Swiss Mendrisio d’Oro for his 2014 exploits. The Italian follows last year’s winner; 2013 Tour champion Chris Froome. Young Swiss rider Stefan Küng was given the silver award and will be riding for BMC next year.

The Best of Vincenzo Nibali 2009 to 2014:

header_lampre-meridaNo Place for Horner at Lampre-Merida
At the end of the season, Team Lampre-Merida sends their best wishes and gratefulness to the American cyclist Chris Horner for year he spent in the team.

In 2014 Horner had to face many unfortunate incidents, the most unfortunate being the terrible crash during training before the Giro d’Italia. For Lampre-Merida seeing Chris coming back to races and taking part in Tour de France after this serious injury was a huge success, however even after his hard work and due to these situations Chris was not fortunate enough to demonstrate his true potential, Lampre-Merida would like to show their appreciation to Horner for his proactive attitude, his passion for cycling, sacrifices and efforts he made for the team during the 2014 season. Chris has been a true professional in all senses, especially with his experience which the young riders exploited.

Team Lampre-Merida wish Chris all the best for his future. It would have been great for the team and Chris to have crossed paths earlier on in his career in order to have had a longer relationship.

Tirreno Adriatico 2014

header-giroEurospin New Sponsor of the Giro d’Italia White Jersey
Eurospin has signed a multi-year deal with RCS Sport to sponsor the Giro d’Italia White Jersey. The jersey is worn by the leading young rider – born before 1991 – and celebrates one of the most important race classifications.

The White Jersey, introduced to the race in 1976, has been worn by a long list of illustrious riders, the last being the Colombian Nairo Quintana, who also won the 2014 Giro d’Italia General Classification.

Affectionately known as the “Corsa Rosa”, the Giro d’Italia will begin its 98th edition in Liguria on May 9th 2015 and end on May 31st in Milan, going through 13 Italian regions, and passing many Eurospin shops.

“We agreed to participate to this project with great enthusiasm,” said Ivan Odorizzi, Eurospin Italia Chairman. “We are a chain owned 100% by Italians, and the Giro d’Italia is in harmony with our localisation in the territory, which is almost entirely covered by around 1,000 shops. Moreover this is at the same time a high profile sport event that everyone can watch live for free. This is in line with the smart way of shopping: quality at the best price. We particularly like the message ‘carried by the White Jersey’ too, because we are a young company with many young customers.”

RCS Sport CEO, Raimondo Zanaboni, said “It’s a pleasure to welcome Eurospin in the great Giro d’Italia family. Again, another important company has seen the “Corsa Rosa” as a good opportunity for growing its business. This is a confirmation that the Giro is in good health and its business performances are significantly outperforming the general market, thanks to all the new partners that keep on showing their interest and their attention to our products too.”

Fabio Aru wearing the White Jersey at Giro d’Italia 2014:
Giro d'Italia 2014, 19a tappa - Cronometro Individuale Bassano del Grappa-Cima Grappa

header-drapacGoesinnen Ends his Cycling Career to Return to University
Floris Goesinnen has decided to call time on his cycling career, following his final appearance with Drapac Professional Cycling at last month’s Tour of Hainan. Goesinnen, now 31, represented the Australian-based team from 2011 through 2014. Nine years after his cycling career as a professional began with Skil-Shimano, the Dutchman has decided to return to university to obtain his Master’s degree in Human Movement Sciences.

A powerful all-rounder, Goesinnen looks back on this time with fondness. “With Skil-Shimano we started out with a young team and I got to live the highlights of my sports career in the spring classics, where we managed to get a lot of exposure. Those are the races you dream about when you’re a kid,” he explained. “Later, I joined Drapac Professional Cycling, and I really enjoyed their philosophy where personal development is the focus as well as the different cultures I encountered. If you ask me to name an example, I will tell you about the Tour of Japan with a stage finish on Mt Fuji and the welcome the fans in Tokyo gave us.”

Goesinnen rode to three outstanding victories over his time with Drapac, all in 2012 – a stage of Flèche du Sud, and then an impressive double in consecutive one-day races the Melbourne to Warrnambool and the Shipwreck Coast Classic. Jonathan Breekveldt, General Manager of Drapac Professional Cycling wishes Goesinnen well in his endeavours post-cycling. “Floris has been a great ambassador for Drapac over the past four seasons and we are confident in his ability to continue to achieve in whatever he does off the bike. As a rider, he fulfilled the team’s ideals – Floris is multi-dimensional and we congratulate him on that. He completed his Bachelor’s degree over his time as a professional cyclist and he’s recently become a father.

“Drapac Professional Cycling thanks him for his efforts.” After four years of travelling the world with Australian team Drapac Professional Cycling he will now have to get used to the quiet life in and around Maastricht, the Netherlands. “I will probably spend most of my time inside the University, at the day care center [Goesinnen became a dad in September] and inside my own home. This is a choice I made and I am glad that I’m able to get my Master’s after having obtained a Bachelor during my cycling days.”

Goesinnen, born in the province of Noord Holland, hopes to get his Masters degree in Human Movement Sciences in June. “In the mean time I want to look around to see if I can put my scientific knowledge and professional experience to good use within the sport,” he said. “There is nothing solid right now, but I am confident that something interesting will come along.”

Floris Goesinnen celebrates his win in the 2012 Melbourne to Warrnambool:

header_lampre-meridaFeng Chun Kai: The first Taiwanese ever in the World Tour
Team Lampre-Merida is once again proud to be pioneer in the expansion of the cycling boundary, considering that it has signed the first Taiwanese rider ever in its history. In 2015, Chun Kai Fei will be the first Taiwanese to take part in the World Tour circuit.

Born in 1988 in Qing’an Village, Feng is very popular in Taiwan, a Country whose cycling industry is at the top of the world production. Thanks to the cycling successes he achieved, Feng is the leading figure of the Taiwanese cycling movement. In 2007, when he was very young, he became Asian champion in the points race on the track; in 2010 he became pro, collecting during his career three national road titles (2010-2011-2013), one national time trial title (2013), one stage in Tour of Thailand in 2012 and the gold medal in the 10 km scratch.

The deal for Chun Kai Feng to join the blue-fuchsia-green team has been made official in a press conference in Taiwan, where the rider was introduced by William Jeng, Merida Bikes company’s senior vice president.

Lampre-Merida decided to give this opportunity of improvement to an athlete who is considered to be ready to face the challenge of the elite of cycling, endorsing the Asian cycling movement that in the next years will become more and more important for the cycling world. “We consider Chun Kai Feng owns the skills and the fighting spirit to demonstrate that the Taiwanese cycling has come to a level that gives the opportunity to his leading figure to debut in the World Tour,” team manager Copeland explained. “The first part of the season will be important for him for getting settled and to adapt himself to the language and the European culture. Our team’s members are very warm and accepting people, so Feng will have no problem in receiving the necessary support by everybody in the team, especially by the most experienced cyclists.

During the first half of the year we’ll complete the evaluation of his skills and we’ll give him the support for what concerns the training programs, aiming to set a race plan that will give Feng the opportunity to exploit in the best way his qualities during the second part of the season.”


header-MTNTeam MTN-Qhubeka Management Gets A New Look For 2015
Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung are delighted to announce that Alex Sans Vega and Jean-Pierre Heynderickx have joined the team, both taking on roles as Sports Directors. Sans Vega and Heynderickx will join up with existing sports directors, Jens Zemke and Michel Cornelisse to direct the African Pro-Continental team throughout the 2015 cycling season.

Sans Vega comes with a wealth of experience after working for squads like Team CSC, Cervelo Test Team and NetApp-Endura in the past. Sans Vega has also directed teams in more than 20 grand tours in his career as a sports director and will be invaluable to Team MTN-Qhubeka.

Heynderickx is an ex-professional bike rider, most well-known for his stage victory in the 1989 Vuelta a España. Heynderickx also took to the start of the Tour de France on 2 occasions during his career as a rider. The Belgian then started his career as Sports Director back in 1999 and now joins Team MTN-Qhubeka, coming from the World Tour outfit Lotto-Belisol.

With Douglas Ryder reverting to his role as Team Principal, interim manager Brian Smith will continue as the team’s General Manager.

Sports Director – Alex Sans Vega
“Coming to the MTN-Qhubeka team is a big pleasure and I am extremely delighted as I see it as one of the biggest and nicest projects in world cycling at the moment. Helping Africa to use the bike as its daily transport and helping young African bike riders to develop their talents into becoming some of the best racers in the world is a unique opportunity that gives me high motivation for the coming season.

Plus, joining the team is a way to return to work with a group of people that I know very well from the past and we have the same clear goals. The new team manager Brian Smith from Endura Racing Team, Jens Zemke from Cervelo Test Team and even some of the riders like Theo Bos, Serge Pauwels (Cervelo Test Team), Matthew Goss (CSC) and even Boasson Hagen from the Norwegian National Team I have worked with all before.

We all will give our best to bring this team to the top of best cycling and can’t wait to start the new season.”

Sports Director – Jean-Pierre Heynderickx
“I am happy to be joining Team MTN-Qhubeka next year. I have known Zemke and Cornelisse for a long time already and we have always had a good understanding so I am looking forward to working with them‎. The team has a good mix of experience and young talented riders‎. We will be able to ride well and gain the relevant exposure for Qhubeka over the course of the entire season.”

Sports Director – Jens Zemke
“I am now going into my 4th year with MTN-Qhubeka and we are continually making history by bringing Africa as a new continent to the biggest cycling events in the world. I love being part of this team and seeing how the guys are stepping up from year to year.”

Sports Director – Michel Cornelisse
“I am very happy to be a part of this great team and to help promote Qhubeka. I was surprised by the will and motivation of the riders from Africa this past season. To be a pro rider in Europe and give up a lot to follow their dream is an inspiration. With my experience and their will to train hard and fight we can bring success next year. As a team we have taken a big step by adding more world class riders and management who will motivate everybody to make 2015 a success. I am looking forward to working with my new colleagues in this worthwhile project.”

General Manager – Brian Smith
“I am really enthusiastic about working on this project especially with many of the existing team members. We have added to the teams core talent to strengthen the team moving forward. I believe we are very unique in the Cycling World where we are supporting a greater cause in Qhubeka. Raising awareness for Qhubeka by performing well in many of the worlds top races including the Tour de France will change lives in Africa. This extra motivation will no doubt pull the team together to perform well on the world stage. I am really looking forward to engaging with all of the teams partners and fans in making this team proud to be a part of.”

Inside The MTN-Qhubeka Team Car in the Driedaagse De Panne 2014:

header-letapeRegistration for the 23rd Etape du Tour opens on November 6!
Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne > La Toussuire – Les Sybelles (July 19th 2015)

Key points:
Registration gets under way tomorrow at 9 am
A ride through Maurienne with all the makings of an epic stage
Key figures of the 2015 Etape du Tour

Registration gets under way Nov 6th at 9 am
Registration for the 2015 Etape du Tour will begin tomorrow, Thursday, November 6 at 9 am on the ASO Challenges registration platform www.asochallenges.com. Brave riders looking for an adventure on the roads of the 19th stage of the Tour de France will be able to sign up for the key event in the cyclosportive calendar.

They will also get nutrition, training and health tips to help them build up towards an event which is a huge success year after year. Over 13,000 participants from all over the world are expected to come and test their legs on the rugged terrain of the vallée de la Maurienne come July 19.

A ride through Maurienne with all the makings of an epic stage
The 23rd edition will take competitors on an adventure from Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to La Toussuire just five days before the pros duke it out on the same roads. In just over nine months’ time, they will tackle a gruelling 142 km course featuring the Col du Chaussy, La Croix de Fer, Le Mollard and the final climb to La Toussuire-Les Sybelles. Tour de France fans and mountain goats are looking forward to this stage, which will be raced entirely within Maurienne and has already been singled out as one of the toughest in the 2015 Grande Boucle.

More information on www.letapedutour.com

L’Etape du Tour 2015 in figures:
– Date: July 19, 2015
– Start: Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne
– Finish: La Toussuire-Les Sybelles
– Distance: 142 kilometres
– Main climbs: Chaussy, La Croix de Fer, Le Mollard and La Toussuire-Les Sybelles
– Elevation gain: + 4,609 m
– Highest point: 2,065 m (Col de la Croix de Fer)
– Registration on www.asochallenges.com

Etape du Tour 2015: Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne – La Toussuire – Les Sybelles:

header-wctrack14-152014-15 UCI Track WC Teaser – Guadalajara
If you are having withdrawal symptoms from not seeing any racing then on the 8th and 9th of November the UCI Track World Cup in Guadalajara will be on the UCI Channel on YouTube. Check it’s on in your area to avoid disappointment. Don’t forget there is also cyclo-cross at the week-end with the big event on Sunday the Hansgrohe Superprestige in Ruddervoorde.

Alan Hewitt 1960 – 2014 RIP
We received the sad news that one of the unsung heroes of our sport left us on Monday morning. Alan was a top Scottish time trialist in the 70’s and 80’s, he went from novice to winning in a matter of months. After his career on the bike he opened a bike shop and started helping young riders, as mechanic and then manager for the Scottish youth squads, before taking over as national manager taking teams to the Commonwealth Games and other big events. In those days there was no wage, no lottery funding then, Alan did the job for the right reasons. Eventually his shop closed and he worked for Madison, the Shimano importer for Britain. He would be seen at many different events helping riders of all abilities with mechanical problems. Alan was a big man, not just in size but in character. Immensely funny, careing and a loving man who could make you laugh in the worst of situations, if you ever met Alan you would never forget him. On a personal note I met Alan when at school, we would both be around 14 years old, 4 years later we met again on the bike, trained and raced together. Some time after that we were working at the same races getting our hands dirty. Years would pass, but his friendship was always very important. Alan will be missed by so many people. All the best big man.

The funeral is on Thursday 13th Nov at 11am at Clydebank crematorium, near Glasgow, Scotland.


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