What's Cool In Road Cycling

EuroTrash Monday!

Armstrong to confess? Can’t see it myself, but there has been no end of surprises from the Texan over the years. Racing is full on in Australia in the build up to the Tour Down Under and cyclo-cross was in Italy for the UCI World Cup. More good news for Ballan as he gets ready to leave hospital, Vuelta route, Dubai news and lots of team news. A very full EuroTrash Monday.

“Top Story”

Armstrong to Admit Everything?
Rumour has it (via the New York Times) that Lance Armstrong is about to confess to his doping use and the reason cited is his want to return to competition, one would imagine that would be triathlon. The New York Times say that unnamed sources have said that Armstrong has told anti-doping officials and his associates that he might be making a public confession and have a meeting with WADA’s David Howman.

Now if this is true it throws up many different questions:

If Armstrong admits everything he would then have to pay a lot of money too many different people and companies. SCA Promotions and the Sunday Times have claims against the Texan which would add up to a lot of money, plus an admission could open the gates to personal claims from journalists; Paul Kimmage, David Walsh and others. Individuals; Emma O’Reilly and Betsy Andreu, riders; Christophe Bassons and Filippo Simeoni, then Greg Lemond could be looking for recompense for his losses due, allegedly, to Armstrong. Even Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis could be in the queue for litigation.

Would Armstrong face a jail for perjury due to his grand jury evidence and then there is the “whistleblower” suit over the US Postal Service doping case and the use of the sponsor’s money.

If he was to make a full confession would this not implicate Johan Bruyneel and Michele Ferrari, plus team doctors and masseurs and it would throw a shadow over the UCI, if the accusations of a cover-up were corroborated.

Armstrong’s lawyer; Tim Herman has said that “Lance has to speak for himself on that,” when asked about the Texan’s use of drugs and that there had not been any contact with any agency.

One wonders if the need to compete again would be worth that much money and a jail sentence and his competition ban could still be in the region of eight years, or is he looking to avoid a prison sentence (plea bargain) and resurrect his public persona? All or some of these questions will be answered in good time, but the Armstrong case is not going to disappear in a hurry.

Armstrong defends himself, pre-USADA ban:

UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup, Rome 2013
Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) won round 7 of the UCI World Cup on a fast flat course in Rome on Sunday, putting himself back in the running for the trophy. Pauwels team mate Klaas Vantornout headed the race for Pauwels to eventually join him leaving World Champion; Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) in a chase group with Italian Marco Fontana and Frenchman Francis Mourey (FDJ). It looked like Albert could do no better that third, but Vantornout had a mechanical problem and was passed by the others. Albert put the pressure on and dropped the Italian and Frenchman for the eventual second place. Niels Albert still leads the World Cup with 485 points to Kevin Pauwels 469 points with the 8th round in Hoogerheide (Holland) on the 20th of January and the World Championships in Louisville (USA) on the 2nd to 3rd of February.

UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup, Rome Result:
1. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games in 1:01:17
2. Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus at 0:16
3. Marco Aurelio Fontana (Ita) at 0:22
4. Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJ at 0:27
5. Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games at 0:32
6. Lars van der Haar (Ned) Giant Off-Road at 0:50
7. Radomir Simunek (Cze) Kwadro-Stannah at 0:51
8. Bart Aernouts (Bel) AA Drink at 0:53
9. Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) Scott-Swisspower MTB at 1:02
10. Twan van den Brand (Ned) Orange Babies at 1:10.

The last lap in Rome from Sporza.

Jayco Herald Sun Tour 2013
The 4.8 kilometre prologue time trial in Williamstown was won by Jordan Kerby (Suzuki-Bontrager) and he took the first yellow jersey. He beat some of Australian best riders like Simon Gerrans, Simon Clarke and Nathan Haas all riding for Jayco Australia National team.

Jayco Herald Sun Tour Prologue Result:
1. Jordan Kerby (Aus) Suzuki-Bontrager in 5:25.01
2. Joseph Cooper (NZl) Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers at 1.47
3. David Kelly (Aus) Hyster-Rush Racing at 3.68
4. Adam Phelan (Aus) Degani Bakery Cafй World Tour Academy at 5.08
5. Luke Davison (Aus) SASI Cycling-Feelgood Fitness at 5.10
6. Anthony Giacoppo (Aus) Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers at 5.57
7. Aaron Donnelly (Aus) Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers at 6.01
8. Simon Gerrans (Aus) Jayco Australia National Team at 6.53
9. Simon Clarke (Aus) Jayco Australia National Team at 6.68
10. Nathan Haas (Aus) Jayco Australia National Team at 7.34.

The prologue:

Stage 1 from Sunbury to Bendigo over 147.7 kilometres was run under very hot conditions, with temperatures around 45єC and a hot wind. Aaron Donnelly (Huon-Genesys) won the stage from his two break-away partners; Calvin Watson (Jayco-VIS) and Josh Atkins (Gray’s Online-New Zealand National team). Donnelly had been away for nearly the whole stage when they fought out the sprint on the Bendingo velodrome, the 21 year old Donnelly, from Wollongong, had been fighting out for points all through the stage and finished over 2 minutes ahead of the yellow jersey; Jordan Kerby (Suzuki-Bontrager) and took the overall lead

Jayco Herald Sun Tour Stage 1 Result:
1. Aaron Donnelly (Aus) Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers in 4:04:36
2. Calvin Watson (Aus) Jayco-VIS Apollo
3. Josh Atkins (NZl) Grays Online New Zealand National Team
4. Bradley Linfield (Aus) Degani Bakery Cafй World Tour Academy Team at 2:03
5. Alexander Malone (Aus) Satalyst Giant Racing Team
6. Brock Roberts (Aus) Target Trek Racing Team at 2:15
7. Nathan Earle (Aus) Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers at 2:29
8. Wil Walker (Aus) Drapac Cycling
9. Luke Davison (Aus) SASI Cycling-Feelgood Fitness
10. Richard Lang (GB) Great Britain National Team at 2:35.

Jayco Herald Sun Tour Overall After Stage 1:
1. Aaron Donnelly (Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers) 4:09:57
2. Calvin Watson (Jayco VIS Apollo) at 14 secs
3. Josh Atkins (NZ) Grays Online New Zealand National Team at 0:17
4. Bradley Linfield (Aus)Degani Bakery Cafeм World Tour Academy Team at 2:20
5. Luke Davison (Aus) SASI-Feelgood Fitness at 2:38
6. Alexander Malone (Aus) Satalyst Giant Racing Team
7. Jordan Kerby (Aus) Suzuki-Bontrager at 2.39
8. Adam Phelan (Aus) Degani Bakery Cafeм World Tour Academy Team at 2:44
9. Simon Gerrans (Aus) Jayco Australian National Team at 2:45
10. Simon Clarke (Aus) Jayco Australian National Team.

Stage 1 action from Fox Sports News:

Luke Davison (SASI-Feelgood Fitness) won Stage 2 after dropping the breakaway of Will Walker (Drapak) and Oliver Kent-Sparks (Target-Trek). Davison was at one point the overall leader, but the peloton including the yellow jersey of Aaron Donnelly (Huon-Genesys) made up enough for the jersey to stay on his shoulders. Davison did move up to 4th place overall.

Jayco Herald Sun Tour Stage 2 Result:
1. Luke Davison (Aus) SASI Cycling-Feelgood Fitness in 3:46:50
2. Will Walker (Aus) Drapac Cycling at 0:04
3. Oliver Kent Spark (Aus) Target Trek Racing Team at 0:15
4. Simon Yates (GB) Great Britain National Team at 0:17
5. Anthony Giacoppo (Aus) Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers
6. Bernard Sulzberger (Aus) Drapac Cycling
7. Richard Lang (GB) Great Britain National Team
8. Simon Clarke (Aus) Jayco Australia National Team
9. Jasper Ockeloen (Ned) Pro Team Down Under
10. Jordan Kerby (Aus) Suzuki-Bontrager.

Jayco Herald Sun Tour Overall After Stage 2:
1. Aaron Donnelly (Aus) Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers in 7:57:04
2. Calvin Watson (Aus) Jayco VIS Apollo at 0:14
3. Josh Atkins (NZl) Grays Online New Zealand National Team at 0:17
4. Luke Davison (Aus) SASI Cycling-Feelgood Fitness at 2:11
5. Bradley Linfield (Aus) Degani Bakery Cafй World Tour Academy Team at 2:20
6. Will Walker (Aus) Drapac Cycling at 2:32
7. Alexander Malone (Aus) Satalyst Giant Racing Team at 2:38
8. Jordan Kerby (Aus) Suzuki-Bontrager at 2:39
9. Adam Phelan (Aus) Degani Bakery Cafй World Tour Academy Team at 2:44
10. Simon Clarke (Aus) Jayco Australia National Team at 2:45.

Stage 2 from Fox Sports News:

Second placed Calvin Watson (Jayco-VIS-Apollo) moved up a place to take the final overall at the end of Stage 3 from Moonah Links to Arthurs Seat over 93 kilometres. Watson celebrated his 20th birthday in perfect fashion as he started the day 14 seconds behind Aaron Donnelly (Huon-Genesys) in the yellow jersey. The day’s stage winner; Nathan Earle (Huon-Genesys) had shown his strength the first time up Arthurs Seat with Simon Clarke (Australian National team) and Mark O’Brien (SASI), then on the last climb to the finish Earle used his local knowledge to take the stage. Watson finished 55 seconds later, but more importantly he finished 53 seconds ahead of Donnelly for the overall victory.

Jayco Herald Sun Tour Stage 3 Result:
1. Nathan Earle (Aus) Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers in 2:18:42
2. Dan McConnell (Aus) Suzuki-Bontrager at 0:07
3. Mark O’Brien (Aus) SASI Cycling-Feelgood Fitness at 0:09
4. Simon Clarke (Aus) Jayco Australia National Team at 0:16
5. Will Walker (Aus) Drapac Cycling at 0:17
6. Marc Williams (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts
7. Simon Yates (GBr) Great Britain National Team at 0:20
8. James Oram (NZl) Grays Online New Zealand National Team
9. Bradley Linfield (Aus) Degani Bakery Cafй World Tour Academy Team
10. Darren Lapthorne (Aus) Drapac Cycling.

Jayco Herald Sun Tour Final Overall:
1. Calvin Watson (Aus) Jayco VIS Apollo in 10:16:55
2. Aaron Donnelly (Aus) Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers at 0:37
3. Josh Atkins (NZl) Grays Online New Zealand National Team at 1:18
4. Bradley Linfield (Aus) Degani Bakery Cafй World Tour Academy Team at 1:31
5. Nathan Earle (Aus) Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers at 1:34
6. Will Walker (Aus) Drapac Cycling at 1:40
7. Simon Clarke (Aus) Jayco Australia National Team at 1:52
8. Simon Gerrans (Aus) Jayco Australia National Team at 1:56
9. James Oram (NZl) Grays Online New Zealand National Team at 2:03
10. Darren Lapthorne (Aus) Drapac Cycling at 2:06.

The final stage:

Mitch Docker Wins in Williamstown
Mitch Docker took his first win in ORICA-GreenEDGE colours on the third stage of the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic. Besting Harry Carpenter (Team SASI) in a two-up sprint, Docker’s win in Williamstown capped off a hugely successful race series for the Australian outfit.

“We won two stages, the sprint classification and the team classification,” said Sport Director Matt Wilson. “Four of our five riders were in the top ten overall with Docker our best placed in third. It was a fantastic three days of racing for the team. We couldn’t hope for much more. The guys have shown they’re in good condition.”

Docker was elated to be an integral part of the team’s success. “This is my first win for the team and my first win in several years, actually,” said Docker. “It’s always good to win for the team, and it’s a big confidence boost for me personally for the coming season. The team raced well together. Everyone had an important job, and we moulded together to get the work done.”

A last minute adjustment to the race plan afforded Docker the opportunity to race for the stage win. “Originally, we had planned to work for Leigh Howard,” explained Wilson. “We wanted to take him up for the sprint and give him a chance to win the stage. Unfortunately, he came down with a virus overnight, and he wasn’t able to race today.”

“We changed our plan before the start,” Wilson continued. “We had two guys up on the overall, but we knew it was unlikely we could get a good combination of riders together up the road and we would need to do that to take out the series. We decided to stick with our plan to go for the stage win, and Durbo [Luke Durbridge], Docker and [Jens] Mouris could all take their chances.”

Docker made the most of the opportunity when he initiated the race winning move ten minutes into the final day of racing. His early attack opened a gap ahead of the first intermediate sprint.

Carpenter joined Docker up the road ahead of the second intermediate sprint. Although a few riders attempted to bridge, the duo managed to hold off all chasers as they worked well together to stretch their gap out to nearly a minute.

Greg Henderson (Degani Bakery Cafй) jumped from the peloton ahead of the third intermediate sprint. His effort resulted in a reaction from the peloton that saw all chasers reabsorbed by the main bunch. The lead duo maintained a slim advantage heading into the final three laps.

“Carpenter attacked with a lap and half to go,” recalled Docker. “He attacked me from behind, so as soon as I got on his wheel, I stayed on it. I made him lead the sprint, and then I shot underneath him in the final corner. I made sure I was first one through that last corner. It’s maybe 250 metres from the line, and I sprinted from there.”

Docker won maximum points on all three intermediate sprints and landed the sprint jersey in addition to his stage win. He finished third on the general classification tied on points with Mouris in fourth and Durbridge in sixth. Leigh Howard managed ninth place despite missing the final day of racing. “Last year we won the series overall with Allan Davis but never took a stage,” said Wilson. “This year, we took two stages. It’s been a good series for the team.”

Melissa Hoskins Parlays Williamstown Win Into Overall Victory
Melissa Hoskins successfully defended her Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic title in style. The defending champion won the field sprint in Williamstown to secure back-to-back overall victories. Hoskins finished second on the first two stages before going one better on the final day of racing en route to the yellow jersey.

“Winning the series was a pretty big goal,” admitted Hoskins. “What else can you do when you’ve won previously? You can’t go better than win, so the only thing there is to do is go back-to-back or win a stage.”

“I put a lot of pressure on myself after winning last year, and I was surprised with how well I dealt with that pressure,” she added. “I’m happy to have a stage win this year. I won the overall last year without a stage win. It was even more special to win today while wearing the yellow jersey.”

The last day of racing was an aggressive affair. Despite repeated attacks, the field stayed together for the majority of the race.

“We were altogether in the final laps,” explained Hoskins. “There were a few attacks in the last three laps but no major threats. Shara [Gillow] and Spratty [Amanda Spratt] went to the front with three to go. Shara did a huge pull for a lap. When she pulled off, Spratty took over. I let her take me to the second to last corner. Peta Mullins (Anytime Fitness Trek), who sat second overall, attacked into the second to last corner, and I jumped onto her wheel straightaway.”

Hoskins remained glued to Mullin’s wheel on the straight stretch of road that separated the second to last corner from the final turn. “I attacked just before the last corner, and I came out of the corner in first place,” said Hoskins. “From there, I sprinted for the win.”

Hoskins called the three days of racing an ‘eye opener’ in terms of her personal fitness.
“My form isn’t as bad as I thought it was,” she said. “My training wasn’t awesome ahead of the tour, and I thought I had bad legs. I guess it was the extreme heat at home. I really struggled with it. It was good to see that I’m back to where I was last year – probably a bit better. I surprised myself.”

Sport Director Dave McPartland shared in Hoskins’ sentiment. “I’m happy with how the girls are riding in terms of form,” he said. “They’ve shown us that they’ve improved over the last month. We’re still not at international racing fitness levels, but I’m confident now that by the time Qatar comes, we’ll be where we need to be.”

“I’m particularly happy with Mel and how she got around Portarlington yesterday,” he added. “To get second on the course was particularly impressive for her.”

In addition to winning the general classification, ORICA-AIS took the team title and Tiffany Cromwell, riding as an individual rider, won the Sprint Ace Competition.

“I want to give a huge thanks to Macca and the rest of the team for all they did,” Hoskins said. “Hopefully it’s onwards for a successful season in 2013.”
Thanks to the Orica-GreenEdge team for the info.

2013 Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic, Day 3:

Rapha Condor JLT: Bay Criteriums
Press Release: Kristian House has once again hit the ground running in the early season, taking a brilliant second place in the toughest race of the Bay Series in Melbourne, Australia. The three race criterium series that started on the first of January is renowned for its high intensity racing. The 2013 edition was no exception with high temperatures affecting the racing, making sure the young Rapha Condor JLT riders work hard in their debut race of the season.

House’s first podium of the year came on the second day of the series on the hilly Portarlington circuit. House formed part of a three-man move in the final twenty minutes of the race, along with Orica Green Edge rider Luke Durbridge and New Zealander James Oram. It was World Tour rider Durbridge who eventually took the win after attacking the group going into the bell lap, before House won the sprint for second just two seconds behind the young Australian.

While House was clearly reaping the benefits of a good winter in Australia and prior experience in the Bay Criteriums, John Herety’s group of young riders found the going much tougher.

Speaking directly after the final race, John Herety appraised his young rider’s efforts. “It was tough going for the guys. The first day on Richie Boulevard was really hard, but as always on that ‘hot dog’ circuit there only ended up being twenty or so finishers. We had a couple of crashes in the support race, but I was very pleased with the performances of Ed Laverack, and Elliot Porter in particular.”

“By the time we got to Williamstown for the final stage it was good to see Rich Handley was in the action and the boys were much more comfortable. It’s been a good series, and now the guys are getting ready for the Sun Tour prologue which starts tonight.”

As the Sun Tour was due to get underway, temperatures in Victoria are set to soar above 40 degrees centigrade over the following days. The first road stage of the Sun Tour that starts tomorrow has been rescheduled to start some two hours earlier to avoid the hottest part of the day.

Follow the team on twitter @raphacondor for updates from the racing as it happens.

Jayco Bay Cycling Classic Day 4:

2013 Vuelta a Espaсa Route
According to my favourite Spanish sports paper; AS, this year’s Vuelta a Espaсa is to have no less than 11 mountain top stage finishes, one more than last year. The course is to be announced next Saturday the 12th of January in the start town of Vigo, but after the opening team time trial there will be two very hard stages with summit finishes. From there the race will head south through Extremadura to Andalucнa where the race will take in the climb of the Valdepeсas de Jaen, last seen in 2010. After a tough stage around the Sierra Nevada the Spanish stage race will head north to the Pyrenees with a time trial in Tarazona (Aragon) on the way. Once into the last week the race will climb the Collado de Gallina, Fuente De, Subida a Naranco and the Angliru the day before the Madrid finish. Keep tuned to PEZ for a full Vuelta route review.

Vuelta a Espaсa 2011: Alto de L’Angliru:

Meeusen Not at Rome Cyclo-cross World Cup
Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) did not start the cyclo-cross World Cup in Rome on Sunday due to an on-going doping investigation into a Belgian doctor from Leuven who Meeusen visited once. Under Belgian Cycling Federation rules he cannot start the race due to the doping investigation. Meeusen is not under investigation himself and is very disappointed not to be riding and his father had already made the trip to Italy.

Tom Meeusen – Elite 2012:

Contador wins Dubai Desert Sprint
Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff), Ryder Hesjedal (Gramin-Sharp), Tony Martin (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) took part in a special race to promote the Tour of Dubai which is hoped to take place in 2014. The Dubai Sports Council have opened a 68 kilometre cycling circuit for safe training and the Giro d’Italia organisers are helping the development and organising of the Dubai event. Contador won a 1 kilometre race and all four of the riders were presented with Dubai Tour jerseys designed by Versace and probably a nice big cheque.

Tony Martin Beaten by Horse
As part of the launch of the Dubai Tour, World time trial champion; Tony Martin took part in a race with an Arabian racehorse, but lost by a long nose over the one kilometre course. The German said “It was the first time I’ve raced against a horse and it was a fun experience. It’s something I can tell my kids about in 30 years’ time.” He added “When I heard about it, I laughed about it. But for people here horses are a big symbol and they want to combine their culture with ours, so it’s a good idea.”

Here is the race by La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Ballan Expects Release From Hospital Soon
Thanks to the BMC team for the update: BMC Racing Team’s Alessandro Ballan is expected to be released from a Spanish hospital early next week, completing another stage of his recovery from a high-speed crash during training in that country last month.

Returning To Italy
BMC Racing Team Chief Medical Officer Dr. Max Testa said special medical transport is being arranged for Ballan’s return to his home in Italy. Since the accident on Dec. 20, the former world road champion has endured surgery to repair a double fracture of his left leg, had his spleen removed and nursed a broken rib. “Once Alessandro is back in Italy, we’ll make sure everything went well during the flight,” Testa said. “Depending on the outcome of that evaluation, we can determine the next step in his rehabilitation.”

Appreciative Of Good Care
Ballan said he is especially anxious to be re-united with his two daughters. His wife, Daniela, has been with him since the day after the crash but his daughters have been in the care of their grandmother. “This has been particularly difficult because it’s been a long time since I’ve been home,” Ballan said. “Training camp started in mid-December and then I couldn’t be home and together with my entire family for the holidays. So I’m very appreciative of the support from Dr. (Dario) Spinelli and the BMC Racing Team and the medical care I received here in Spain. Plus, all the messages of encouragement have given me more strength every day.”

Special Arrangements
BMC Racing Team President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz said although Ballan will be unable to join his teammates and management and staff at Friday’s media day in Belgium, special arrangements will be made to make sure he is a part of the activities. “We are extremely pleased at the rapid progress that Alessandro has accomplished while under the excellent care of the Hospital Dйnia Marina Salud,” Ochowicz said. “I can’t imagine how much joy he and his family will enjoy when they are reunited. We look forward to having him back in the races in the coming months.”

Tour of Flanders 2012 – Ballan’s attack on the Kwaremont:

RadioShack-Leopard-Trek riders for Tour Down Under
Team line-up for the People’s Choice Classic (January 20) and Santos Tour Down Under (January 22-27):
George Bennett,
Laurent Didier,
Ben Hermans,
Tiago Machado,
Andy Schleck,
Jesse Sergent,
Jens Voigt.
Sports director: Josй Azevedo.

Garmin-Sharp riders for Tour Down Under
Tyler Farrer will make his come-back to the Pro peloton at the Santos Tour Down Under since abandoning the Tour of Britain back in September 2012 with concussion.
Tyler Farrar,
Lachlan Morton,
Steele von Hoff,
Nathan Haas,
Rohan Dennis,
Jack Bauer,
Robert Hunter.

Euskaltel-Euskadi for Tour Down Under
The Basque team will be led by the Izaguirre brothers; Jon & Gorka and previous Tour Down Under winner Mikel Astarloza who won in 2003.
Jon Izaguirre,
Gorka Izaguirre,
Mikel Astarloza,
Juan Jose Lobato,
Jon Aberasturi,
Garikoitz Bravo,
Juan Jose Oroz.

Omega Pharma – Quick-Step for Tour Down Under
Peter Velits, second in the 2010 Vuelta a Espaсa and 2012 Tour of Oman winner, will lead the Omega Pharma – Quick-Step team in Australia and will be backed by one of the strongest teams Down Under.
Peter Velits,
Gert Steegmans,
Bert Grabsch,
Frantiљek Raboň,
Jermoe Pineau,
Andy Fenn,
Serge Pauwels.

Santos Tour Down Under promo:

Tour de France Turning Japanese?
The Japanese Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper is reporting that Tour de France organisers; ASO are bring some of the top Tour riders to Saitama for an exhibition race in the city north of Tokyo. The criterium race would be part of the 100 years of the Tour de France celebrations and would be at the end of the European season. There has not be anything official, but an announcement is expected once everything is sorted out and pen put to paper on the deal.

ORICA-GreenEDGE Backstage Pass – Japan Cup:

Daan Luijkx wants to be a constant factor with Vacansoleil-DCM
Investments in staff and team development have to bring improvement in 2013.

Press Release: With only seven new riders of which two were already trainee the core of the team who has the confidence of the management stays intact for the new season. The improvements which the team looks for will mainly aim for getting the maximum out of the team. ‘There is no way that the measures will not lead to improvement’ says Daan Luijkx halfway through the interview, when countless new initiatives within his team Vacansoleil-DCM had been discussed. And improvements are what is needed, he thinks. ‘Last year we had high peaks with Lieuwe Westra in Paris-Nice, Thomas De Gendt in the Giro and Marco Marcato in Paris-Tours. That is great, but sometimes we fall through the floor. We want to at least equal the highest peaks, and the troughs have to become less deep. I am well aware: that is not going to be easy.’

At the office of the team in the town of Sprundel, from where the cycling team Vacansoleil-DCM operates, management and sport directors have put together a package of measures which have led to further professionalization ‘We have an all-round approach, which is innovative’ Luijkx thinks. ‘A medical coordinator, a physical/mental coach and two sports scientist have been added to the team. We have also engaged an external organisation which can make adjustments in our sports and team dynamics processes if required’

With Aart Vierhouten, an extra sport director has also been employed, who monitors the through line of every rider. ‘If we are a rider short anywhere, we shouldn’t call up a rider in his rest period. The through line is sacrosanct for both sides’, Luijkx explains about one of Vierhouten’s most important duties. ‘On one hand I want to move away from the lack of obligations and on the other hand I want to make riders feel secure that they are not alone, when things are difficult.

It is a big package of innovations, which Luijkx sums up. “We want to improve things every year. The steps we are able to take do become smaller each year. These steps were still left to make, and I think we can make a lot of gains by making them.

One of the most important measures for the new season is the mental coaching. “At the end of 2012 we kicked-off a yearlong program with Gert Baartmans and Sierd Nutma of BN Professionals. The need to become more consistent in the performance, to create more conscious about the team values among staff and the urge to use mental power were the main reasons to start this program. The program started in November with a nightly team building. This was followed by an assessment of the riders and sport directors after which the task awareness and mental cleverness were discussed and trained. With all employees, from staff to mechanics, we work on the values and culture of the team. From here we move on with a coach program for sport directors and riders. The goal of team development is supported by continuous connecting to the values. The great thing about the interventions and training is that everyone sees the chances and that a self-correcting power is coming to surface in the whole organisation.”

The professionalising of his team happened fast, in recent years. ‘This year we are also making another step in the scientific approach, so the riders have to be able to reach optimal performance at several moments in the season. This brings us full circle’ Luijkx thinks. ‘Although we will still continue to ask ourselves the question: what do we have left to do?’

Vavansoleil-DCM in the 2011 Tour de France:

Lotto Belisol: Bert Ackaert of Energy Lab about the training camp in Benicassim
Press Release: From today (Friday) on the biggest part of the Lotto Belisol riders is going to Benicassim for a training camp. The team that will ride the Tour of Gabon already left for Spain two days ago and returns sooner. Those who will race in the Tour Down Under won’t go and will fly to Down Under the 8th of January to prepare for the season’s start.

During the previous training camp in Mojacar the intention was to have a larger basis in function of the long season, now it’s more about preparing the riders for the first races. Bert Ackaert of Energy Lab explains what will happen.

Bert Ackaert: “Energy Lab supports Lotto Belisol on three levels. First of all the riders get the chance to have training guidance from us. That can be helping to set up training schedules, tests, coaching , discussing the program together with the sports directors,… We assist most of the riders; some work with their own trainer, and also that is in the best understanding. Secondly, there is the biomechanical part, for example the adjusting of the position on the bike and time trial bike. Finally there is the food guidance, that’s about everyday food, sports nutrition and sufficient and correct drinking.”

“For the training camp Energy Lab has set up training schedules depending on the types of races certain riders will go to and when they are starting the season. The guys for the Tour Down Under have been given there program, with the aim of trying to get a stage win with Andrй Greipel. Those who will go to the Tour de San Luis in Argentina will train on a route with more hills than those who will travel to Gabon. I will be present during the whole training camp to give advice if desirable and to adjust where that is necessary. After that we will take certain tests in the first and second part of the training camp to see how the condition of the riders is. The difference with the past is that the first races of the season aren’t pure preparation any longer, but everywhere there is a hard race, so this training camp isn’t about building the basic condition anymore, but about building up the intensity.”

Lotto Belisol training in Spain:

Team NetApp-Endura gets New Year Off to a Perfect Start
Press Release: Team NetApp-Endura, highest ranked German professional cycling team gets its fourth season off to a perfect start. The team was invited to all races it had hoped for in the first weeks, thus enabling it to prepare optimally for the highlights of the coming season.

“The first months of the year are important for laying the foundations for the rest of the season. We were invited to all the races in January and February that we were hoping for. This represents a perfect start,” said Ralph Denk, Team NetApp-Endura team manager.

“But the biggest challenge is still ahead of us. Our stated goal for 2013 is to also compete in a Grand Tour. Our talks with all organizers are proceeding well and we are looking forward to the first decisions. At any rate, the current races will enable us to prepare optimally,” added Denk.

Four races form the cornerstones during the first weeks of the season. Team NetApp-Endura will be kicking off the season with the Argentinean Tour de San Luis (January 20 – 27).

For the first time since its formation, the team was invited to compete in the prestigious tours in Qatar (February 3 – 8) and Oman (February 11 – 16). Especially the sprinters will be able to prove their mettle during the tours which are handled by ASO, organizer of the Tour de France.

The team kicks off the Belgian classics season on February 23 with the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

Team NetApp in the the Tour of Britain 2012 stage 6:

CRC Joins Movistar Team
Movistar Team adds a multidisciplinary work team which will take charge of all areas of riders’ performance

Press Release: For what will be its third season in the World Tour peloton -the 34th of Eusebio Unzuи’s structure in the pro ranks-, Movistar Team is adding the Cycling Research Center organization (CRC), based in the University of Granada, to its staff. CRC will be responsible for all areas regarding the riders’ performance. Several aspects, such as training, nutrition, biomechanics or psychology will be covered by an expert group of professionals directed by Mikel Zabala PhD, a professor and researcher in Physical Activity and Sport Sciences at the University of Granada, as well as director of the ‘Prevent to win’ (“Prevenir para ganar”) program of the Royal Spanish Cycling Federation, related to education on values for clean sport.

The collaboration agreement between both institutions, according to Zabala, looks forward to apply the sport sciences into the structure: “It means that we will develop an integral work protocol focused on the rider’s performance, with all agents (coaches, doctors, soigneurs, mechanics) working collaboratively. It is meant to evolve a sport like cycling, that has changed in the last few years,” explains Zabala. “Our philosophy is based on teamwork. It’s obvious that the rider is the most important piece in the wheel, but not the only one. To make the rider’s performance optimal, it is necessary to collaborate with the rider, the sports director, the coaches, the doctors, the nutritionist and all other members of a pro cycling team’s staff. We all share interests and we must walk together. Our labour is to try and get together all those pieces, integrate them so the result is the best possible one.”

The Movistar Team on the Queen stage of the Tour of Castilla y Leуn by AvanzamosTV:

Endura sponsors Superior Brentjens MTB Racing Team
Press Release: Endura is proud to announce that the Scottish bikewear and accessories provider is the official cycle clothing sponsor of Superior Brentjens MTB Racing Team for 2013 and 2014. The 10 rider strong team will be managed by Bart Brentjens, founder of the Brentjens MTB Racing team and the first Olympic gold medal winner in the history of XC mountain biking as an Olympic discipline at the Olympic Games in Atlanta 1996.

As the team’s exclusive clothing sponsor, Endura will provide the team with their custom-made team kit as well as with all other cycle clothing that the riders wear for racing as well as for training.

Cyclist Vs Skier!

Wife and Triathlete
For sure this could be any sportsman, the last line seems a little harsh though! Xtranormal by argieessex:

Any comments drop me a line, email address: [email protected] or Twitter. And there is the PezCyclingNews Twitter and Facebook Fan Page.

Like PEZ? Why not subscribe to our weekly newsletter to receive updates and reminders on what's cool in road cycling?

Comments are closed.