It’s the last day of 2012, but there is still a load of EuroTrash to sift through. Three cyclo-cross races since Thursday, knighthoods and medals in Britain and suspensions in Kazakhstan. Good news for Alessandro Ballan and more news of Armstrong, plus all the other trashy stuff out there. Sit back, take a long drink of coffee and wait for midnight. Happy New Year to all!
Sir Bradley Wiggins!
The first British Tour de France winner; Bradley Wiggins has been honoured by the Queen with a knighthood and heads a long list of other cyclists mentioned in the New Years honours list; a knighthood for performance director Dave Brailsford and a damehood for 11-time Paralympic champion Sarah Storey. Also Victoria Pendleton, who retired this year after earning her second Olympic gold medal, has been made a CBE while there are OBEs for double London 2012 winners Jason Kenny and Laura Trott and MBEs for Steven Burke, Mark Colbourne, Neil Fachie, Philip Hindes, Peter Kennaugh, Dani King, Craig MacLean and Jo Rowsell.
Wiggins, who was awarded his seventh Olympic medal when he won the time-trial just days after the Tour this summer, said: “It’s an incredible honour and an incredible thing to have. I don’t think it’s something I am going to use in daily life but an amazing thing to have in the drawer for my wife, my kids, my family – it’s topped the year off.”
Storey said: “Wow, I am speechless but incredibly honoured and extremely proud to be able to accept this. I never expected any additional awards after my sporting success, I love competing for my country and that is a huge honour in itself. Now to be a Dame is beyond anything I could have ever imagined and I cannot thank my family, friends, coaches and support staff over all the years enough for their devotion in helping me to follow the path of becoming the best athlete I can possibly be.”
Brailsford said: “It’s a great pleasure to receive this honour and tops off a fantastic year. I am extremely fortunate to have worked with an amazing team of riders and staff at both British Cycling and Team Sky and it is they who deserve the credit as our achievements are truly a team effort and I thank them all immensely.”
The news was welcomed by British Cycling president Brian Cookson, who said: “This is a fitting end to a phenomenal year for us. Dave, Bradley and Sarah’s outstanding achievements this year have made us all proud to be British and have shone a spotlight on our sport, inspiring hundreds of thousands of people to take up cycling. Cycling is the sport that has redefined our national sporting identity this year and it is fantastic to see this recognised in the New Year Honours list. On behalf of all their colleagues and fellow members of British Cycling, I warmly congratulate all three on achieving this highest of all national honours.”
All this is very good for British cycling and all of the above are very deserving of the honours, but I do feel sorry for Robert Millar who has never received any public recognition of his achievements. He has a long list of firsts: King of the Mountains in the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia, twice 2nd overall in the Vuelta a Espaсa and 2nd overall in the Giro d’Italia and won the Critйrium du Dauphinй Libйrй. He achieved all of this and more without much help from his team management or team riders.
These honours do reflect the change in the British public’s view of cycling as a sport, but it wasn’t that long ago when riders had to leave home to struggle living a hand to mouth existence in some freezing room in Belgium with only hope of being noticed by a Pro team keeping them going.
Robert Millar in the 1989 Tour de France:
Superprestige Cyclo-cross, Diegem 2012:
On a narrow and muddy course in Diegem, starting at 5pm under floodlights, World champion Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) showed that his form was coming at the right time to defend his rainbow jersey. After a good start form Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor), Albert crossed to him at around halfway and then rode away from him to solo to the finish with a big gap on Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor). Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) had been doing most of the chasing, but could not stay with Albert when he made his move up to Vantornout, but Stybar and Pauwels headed off after Albert, passing Vantornout, but never worrying the World champion. On the steps before the finish Pauwels was faster than Stybar at the dismount and remount to take 2nd with Stybar in 3rd. Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony) had bad luck again and a bad start, he chased all day to finish 7th, he still leads the Superprestige from Albert, but only by 5 points.
Superprestige Cyclo-cross, Diegem Result:
1. Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus in 1:00:00
2. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor at 0:30
3. Zdeněk Љtybar (Cze) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:35
4. Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor at 0:39
5. Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus
6. Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea
7. Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony
8. Marcel Meisen (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus
9. Lars van der Haar (Ned) Rabobank Giant Offroad
10. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea at 0:43.
Bpost Bank Trofee, Loenhout Azencross 2012
Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) fought out the Azencross with Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) for the win and the lead in the Bpost Bank Trofee. Albert attacked from the gun to get the important sprint on the second lap; Stybar and Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor) was the only rider to hang onto the World champion’s wheel. Eventually it was too much for Vantornout and on the muddiest section of the last lap Albert got rid of the Czech. Behind; Vantornout was caught and passed by team mate Kevin Pauwels for 3rd as Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony) crashed twice and had an argument with a spectator who threw beer at him. Due to Nys not finishing he lost 5 minutes, and also lost any chance of winning the Bpost Bank Trofee.
Bpost Bank Trofee, Loenhout Azencross Result:
1. Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus in 57:36
2. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:16
3. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor at 0:56
4. Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor at 1:01
5. Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea at 1:32
6. Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink at 1:47
7. Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Style & Concept at 1:58
8. Philipp Walsleben (GER) at BKCP-Powerplus at 2:00
9. Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea at 2:04
10. Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus at 2:21.
Here is the link to the summary of the race on sporza.
And the Nys incident on sporza.
Versluys Cyclo-cross, Bredene 2012
On Saturday the cross action moved to Bredene on the coast for the Versluys cross, the course took in some of the streets for the start/finish, plus some mud and the of course the beach. Belgian champion, Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony) put yesterdays tussle over the beer throwing incident behind him and handed over a bottle of beer at the start (see below). He also won the race in a close sprint between him and Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus), the two had broken away with Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step), but the Czech didn’t have the jump for the sprint.
Versluys Cyclo-cross, Bredene Result:
1. Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony in 58:51
2. Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus
3. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:02
4. Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony at 0:11
5. Jonathan Page (USA) at 0:17
6. Ben Berden (Bel) Raleigh-Clements at 1:33
7. Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus at 1:36
8. Isaac Suarez (Spa) at 2:05
9. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx-iHNed at 2:17
10. Bert Verschueren (Bel) at 2:40.
Sven Nys did have a bottle of beer at the start, have a look here on Sporza.
And a bit of the race action here, also from Sporza.
No 2013 Tour de France for Contador?
It’s being reported in the Spanish press (Noticias y Ocio.es) that Alberto Contador might not be competing in this year’s Tour de France and instead starting in the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a Espaсa. This goes against earlier announcements that the Tour was his main aim for the year. Time will tell.
Contador in the 2011 Tour de France:
Hesjedal Awarded Best Canadian Male Athlete
Giro d’Italia winner; Ryder Hesjedal of Garmin-Sharp has been presented with the Lionel Conacher Award as Canadian male athlete of the year by the country’s sports writers. Hesjedal battled against Joaquim Rodriguez throughout the Italian Tour, but took the win on the final day time trial; he commented “You’re winning it every moment, over every kilometre for three weeks. It’s just incredible. There’s not really anything like it. Really, to be a Grand Tour winner, it’s a very small club and it’s a very elite club and I’m very grateful for that.” He does plan on defending his Giro title in 2013.
Ryder Hesjedal; Giro 2012:
Team Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda Unveils 2013 Roster
Press Release: Team Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda today unveiled its 2013 roster, it’s youngest roster ever – with additions for 2013 including Rohan Dennis, Caleb Fairly, Lachlan Morton and Steele Von Hoff.
“We had our strongest season in the history of the team in 2012, with our first Grand Tour win at the Giro, and we’ll be looking to build on that success in 2013,” said Jonathan Vaughters, CEO, Slipstream Sports.
“Our roster has an outstanding mix of new and returning riders, but with a focus on the next generation of riders. Slipstream’s roots are in developing young talent and with additions like Rohan Dennis, Lachlan Morton and the return of Caleb Fairly, we’re poised to continue that tradition and fortify the future of cycling.”
Leading the young influx of up-and-coming talent is Rohan Dennis, the 2012 U23 Australian road race and time trial national champion. Like many Australian cyclists, Dennis comes from a track cycling background, earning multiple world championship medals in recent years. However his fifth place overall in the 2012 Tour Down Under illustrated his potential for success on the road.
Joining him are two countrymen, Lachlan Morton and Steele Von Hoff. Both are graduates of Slipstream’s developmental program and rode as stagiares for the team in 2012 with great success. Von Hoff turned heads as a stagiare by placing on the podium at stages in the Tour of Britain and Post Danmark Rundt.
Caleb Fairly is an addition to the team for 2013, but not an unfamiliar one. Fairly is also a product of Slipstream’s development program, netting one of its biggest wins in the 2010 Tour of the Battenkill.
Adding to the veteran side of the team, Nick Nuyens brings an impressive list of results, including the 2011 Tour of Flanders. The Belgian Classics specialist will add to an already strong arsenal of riders for the spring campaign, as well as providing valuable experience to the team’s emerging talent.
The team is once again aiming for new heights in 2013 to build upon its past successes. Canadian Ryder Hesjedal is eager to defend his Giro d’Italia title, Andrew Talansky and Dan Martin are poised to continue their strong stage race results, Tyler Farrar is the man for the sprint finishes and all of the ‘argyle armada’ will be ready to take up the mantle in the year to come.
Garmin-Sharp 2013 Roster:
Koldo Fernandez de Larrea,
Christian Vande Velde,
NOTE: Danielson, Zabriskie and Vande Velde will return to the team in March 2013.
Garmin-Sharp training in Spain:
No Team for David De la Fuente
After a promise of a contract from his present team; Caja Rural, David De la Fuente looks to be out of a team for 2013. He though he had another year with the ProConti team, but the contract didn’t arrive. He said of his predicament; “Although this time I’m getting used to the idea that life has its phases for a rider and perhaps because of how bad things are in cycling, mine is running out.” He added “I’m pretty pessimistic to do it again, or at least be able to find something.” Good luck to the man who has ridden in the service of Tour de France and Vuelta a Espaсa winners.
David De La Fuente, 1st over the Peyressourde:
Alessandro Ballan Up-Date
After his heavy training crash and surgery in Spain, Alessandro Ballan will soon be out of the intensive care unit of Denia Hospital and into a normal ward and be able to return to Italy soon. BMC team doctor, Max Testa told La Gazzetta dello Sport “We’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Alessandro’s condition is getting better and better, so much so that he is expected to be taken out of intensive care and moved to a normal hospital ward.” As to the Ballan’s future “I spoke to Ballan and his morale seems good. I told him that the team is organising his flight to Italy with a special company so that he avoids any risks. The best thing is if he waits a few more days. He told me that the hospital in Denia has treated him really well and agree with his plans of when to return to Italy.”
Latest Ballan News
Ballan Out Of Intensive Care.
BMC Racing Team’s Alessandro Ballan was released from intensive care Friday in Spain but remains hospitalized as he recovers from injuries suffered in a high speed crash during training last week.
Improving Every Day
Ballan underwent surgery last Thursday night to repair his broken left femur and remove his spleen. The former world road champion also broke a rib in the accident that occurred earlier that day while descending the Coll de Rates climb near Parcent. Speaking from his hospital bed, Ballan said achieving a small milestone in his recovery puts a smile on his face. “Every day I am getting better,” he said. “Now it’s easy.” Ballan said he has been overwhelmed with the messages of encouragement he has received. “I am very happy because I have a lot of supporters, not only in Italy, but around the world. A lot of people are thinking of me in this moment and I am very happy and appreciative of all of them.”
No Timetable For Release
BMC Racing Team Chief Medical Officer Dr. Max Testa said no timetable has yet been established for Ballan’s release. “The doctors who are overseeing his care at the hospital saw enough improvement that he’s been moved to a regular care room,” Dr. Testa said. “What’s good is that he continues to get better each day and there have been no complications from the surgeries.” Ballan had been scheduled to start his season at the Santos Tour Down Under. BMC Racing Team Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said Ivan Santaromita will replace him on the team’s seven-rider roster for the Australian race next month.
Thanks to BMC’s Sean Weide.
BMC with Alessandro Ballan on a Roubaix reconnaissance ride:
Shorter Tour of Algarve
Due to financial problem the 2013 Volta ao Algarve will be run over four days instead of its normal five from the 14th to the 17th of February. Last year’s winner; Richie Porte is unsure if he will be defending his win, but Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome are supposed to start.
Volta ao Algarve 2012:
Armstrong: Texan of the Year?
As the dead-line passed for Lance Armstrong to contest his life ban and victory stripping due to his doping convictions, the Dallas Morning News has announced that Armstrong has been nominated for the Texan of the Year Award, an award he won in 1999. The newspaper stated: “The Dallas Morning News Texan of the Year is a distinction we bestow for impact, be it for better or for worse. It reflects the prominence of what Texans do, not what we’d prefer them to do.” Armstrong has not contested his ban by it’s cut off day of last Thursday, so it stands.
The EPO Effect:
Astana now to Join MPCC
After suggesting that the Astana team would join the Mouvement Pour un Cyclisme Credible (MPCC) about a month ago, the team has now officially applied for membership. The Kazakh team joins a list of teams who want to be part of the credible cycling movement at their next meeting in February.
Astana Suspends Kashechkin
At the same time as applying to join the MPCC, Astana have provisionally suspended Andrey Kashechkin “effective immediately” due to him not signing the teams’ internal code of conduct. Kashechkin was banned for two years in 2008 at the same time as Astana team manager Alexander Vinokourov, both for blood doping. Unlike the Katusha team, the Kazakh set-up received a WorldTour license for 2013 back in November, but maybe has a few more skeletons in its cupboard.
Andrey Kashechkin in 2012 Paris-Nice stage 1:
A Quick Interview with Damiano Cunego
Due to the retirement of Daniele Righi and Marco Marzano, Damiano Cunego became the cyclist with the longest time at Team Lampre. The Piccolo Principe (Little Prince) is going to spend the 9th season with the team of general manager Saronni, in the name of a continuity that Cunego strongly wanted. The final greetings of the year and the wishes for the next season are entrusted to Damiano Cunego, the emblem of Team Lampre.
The team will be heavily renewed for facing 2013, but Damiano Cunego will still be in the roster. What are your feelings as the team’s emblem?
“I’m really happy and, at the same time, it makes me think about the time passing. I’m proud I spent eight years in blue-fuchsia and I’m an important part of the team history, but I’m also aware I’m not a young gun anymore: I’m an experienced man who must face some commitments. Being the team symbol makes me very happy, it’s a pleasing thing that my name his strongly linked to the team’s image”.
Are you satisfied about your choice to go on racing for Team Lampre?
“A long relationship can last only if both parties are deeply engaged and exchange mutual consideration. During all these years, Galbusera family and general manager Saronni always gave me consideration, affection and support, in the bad and good moments. In Team Lampre I never missed what I need to be at top level. These elements were important to decide to continue to be a team member. In addition, I saw very good outlooks for the future, since the team management performed choices that will bring us on very good paths. During training camp in Darfo Boario Terme, I felt good vibrations by new team mates and the new sponsors. Of course, I did not forget all the good things that were made by the ones that were with us in the past”.
In the first meeting, you met the new members of the team roster: you’ll be a benchmark for most of them. What do you think about this role?
“I look at this chance as a good thing. I still remember when I was a neo-pro and I was trying to learn as much as possible by the older cyclists. I’ll try to give them good advice. In Darfo Boario Terme I met very motivated young athletes and I know they’ve good cycling skills”.
How do you spent the rest months?
“I enjoyed the family atmosphere. Then, in the early November, I started riding the bike as an explorer: in fact, since I’ve just move to Lugano, I needed to discover new paths of trainings. In the last ten days I’ve been training in a deeper way, performing the training programs that were set for me”.
Talking about trainings, what do you think about the cooperation with Michele Bartoli as advisor of the team for trainings and races programs?
“The relationship with Michele started in the best way and I think it could go on with many satisfactions. I appreciated very much the way Bartoli obtained many victories when he was a rider, then recently I had the chance to know him also in his new role: it’s a very difficult dimension, but Michele is very able in the field and he owns something exclusive: he used to be a pro cyclist, this means that he knows the athlete’s feelings”.
When your fans will be able to see you racing?
“My debut will be in Challenge Mallorca (3-6 February), then I’ll choose which could be the best races to approach Tirreno-Adriatico and Vuelta al Pais Vasco”
Which is your greeting to the cycling fans?
“I wish happy holidays and a 2013 season full of sport emotions: I’ll do my best to try to reach exciting goals.”
Thanks to the Lampre team for the interview.
The best of Damiano Cunego:
Press Release: The end of 2012 season is characterized by another retirement by a pro cyclist.
Alessandro Speziletti, in fact, decided to stop his professional activity: he was born in 1975 and he spent 16 seasons as a pro. His qualities of “domestique” allowed him to be a key support to his captains, who were able to win 4 Giro d’Italias’ with “Spezia” on their side. The Giro d’Italia was the speciality of Spezialetti, who took part in 14 Corsa Rosa. In his career, he obtained one victory (Atri stage in Giro d’Abruzzo 2001).
“I still love cycling and in my career I obtained so many satisfactions, but I’m aware that I’m 37 years old,” Spezialetti said “I evaluated my situation and I decided to stop. I’m happy I had the chance to say goodbye to pro cycling wearing blu-fuchsia colors: I thank the Galbusera family and Saronni, who gave me the chance to spend 4 years in Team Lampre. In addition, I thank my managers Johnny and Alex Carera, who always supported me in a professional way.”
In Spezialetti’s future there will still be cycling: “I’d like to work in the cycling world, maybe with the young athletes. I’d like to start my new cycling life in Abruzzo, my homeland.”
Team Lampre thanks “Spezia” for his cycling generosity, wishing to reach his new goals.
Alessandro Speziletti in a special time trial:
Dean to Retire
Julian Dean will retire after the New Zealand National championships in January and then take up a position as a sports director with his present team; Orica-GreenEdge. After a 17 year professional career he has had to call it a day following a very unlucky 2012 season, first with a broken shoulder and then a broken leg. The New Zealand fast-man won stages in the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia in his 20 Grand Tour appearances. Dean commented in a Press Release: “It is not the way I had envisaged finishing my career. I thought hard about another season. GreenEdge were great to offer me another chance to ride but it is the right time, and the team has an opportunity to begin a new career in team management.”
Julian Dean at the Vuelta 2012:
Lotto Belisol: Preparation in Gabon, Australia and Argentina
In the long run-up to the classics of 2013, Lotto Belisol chooses a different path than in 2012. Last year the team started among other in Qatar, Oman, the Algarve and Andalusia, now this will be Gabon, Argentina and Bessиges.
Sports manager Marc Segeant: “The Tour Down Under, a WorldTour race, is a certainty. Ten years ago it was an adventure to go to Australia during the preparation, but now it is logical for guys like Greipel and Roelandts. We won’t ride The Tour of Qatar or Oman, but we might go back in the future. The organization asks to come with a strong roster, but last year we noticed that riding Qatar and possibly Oman too right away after the Tour Down Under is a bit too much. Several of those guys got ill in Paris-Nice.”
“The Tropicale Amissa Bongo in Gabon will be a discovery, though last year already several well-known teams started there. We are going with a young selection of six riders, who can get back in the competition rhythm by riding stages of 120 to 150 kilometers. In the Tour de San Luis in Argentina Jurgen Van den Broeck will get the chance to ride his first competition calmly and without any pressure. At the end of January some riders will race in the GP La Marseillaise and the Etoile de Bessиges, a five days race. In the past that was the real start of the preparation, but now we see that there is also internationalization in the preparing stage of the season. The advantage is that riders can be active in better weather.”
“We have to see what comes next, partly because of the crisis in Spain and Portugal. The Trofeo Mallorca is now four days long instead of two, and a training camp will follow for those who race on the island. Normally we also participate in the Tour of the Mediterranean, and also those riders will go to training camp in Mallorca, because it is very uncertain that the Tour of the Algarve and the Ruta del Sol will take place, so we have to anticipate a possible period without competition before the Flemish opening weekend.”
Program for January:
14th to 20th of January: Tropicale Amissa Bongo (Gabon)
21st to 27th of January: Tour de San Luis (Argentina)
22nd to 27th of January: Tour Down Under (Australia) with Down Under Classic on the 20th of January
27th of January: GP Cycliste La Marseillaise
30th of January to 3rd of February: Etoile de Bessиges (France).
Lotto Belisol team building in Zeeland:
Road Vs Tri!
Yes I’m sure they are out there: