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EuroTrash Monday!

National championships weekend; in Australia on the road and cyclo-cross nearly everywhere else. The 2013 Vuelta a Espaсa is the TOP STORY, just a quick look at the route…more to come later on PEZ. Team line-up’s for La Tropicale Amissa Bongo and all the other news from the last few days. As always EuroTrash Monday is a BIG ONE! A caffи lungo I think.

TOP STORY: 2013 Vuelta a Espaсa Route
As was reported last week; the leaked route of the 2013 Vuelta a Espaсa has turned out to be correct. The route will have 11 summit finishes, one more than last year and a mountain time trial. As we already know the race starts with a team time trial from Vilanova de Arousa to Sanxenxo and then goes straight into the first summit finish on the Alto de Groba at the end of stage 1. The first 5 stage are on the hard Galician roads before the race heads south towards Andalucнa for 4 stages culminating on the horrendously hard summit in the Sierra Nevada. After the rest day the race moves north Catalonia to pass into France and Andorra through the Pyrenees and across the Basque Country and on into Asturias and the killer of the Alto de L’Angliru on the eve of the last day to Spain’s capital city Madrid.

Keep tuned to PEZ for more in-depth analysis of the 2013 Vuelta a Espaсa.

What the riders say:
Saxo-Tinkoff’s Alberto Contador: “Even the time trial will be difficult, because it’s got a climb in it. The wind could make a big difference; it’s very exposed and coming after a rest day that’s going to make it harder too. That second stage climb, for example, you’ll still have sore legs from the team time trial. It’s going to be very difficult, a very tense, hard race.” He added: “The Tour is my number one objective but the Vuelta is my home race and that’s always important. On top of that it comes at the end of the season and that makes it compatible with the Tour. I will talk things over with the team and then decide what I am going to do. For the riders it’s going to be very, very demanding, with a lot of tension.”

Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde: “Galicia’s going to be hard enough; we know from previous years that it’s barely got a metre of flat. You can lose time very fast here. The Vuelta could be decided a long time before we get the L’Angliru. We’re going to be very tired when we get there. There’s more than enough opportunities to open up gaps on the rest.”

Katusha’s Joaquim Rodriguez: “It’s very similar to last year but with even more climbs, it’s going to be really hard right the way through. Possibly it’s the absolute hardest, but it’s pretty close. Even the opening team time trial is long enough (27 kilometres) to make a big difference. And then with that first category climb on the second stage, we’ll immediately start seeing who’s going well and who’s not. Galicia is a very hard region to race in if you’re not in good shape! It will be a question of survival of the fittest; we’ll see almost immediately who’s really interested in the overall. There’s no way you can ease yourself into the race. You’ll have to be in top condition right from the very start.”

Lotto Belisol’s Bart De Clercq: “I have good memories of the Vuelta, thanks to my seventeenth place last year. It’s a race where the route suits me and I definitely want to give it a go again. I of course know the name ‘Angliru’ and have seen it on television, it’s a terrifying climb. It’s typical for the Vuelta, those really steep climbs in the end of a stage, they give spectacle. That is good for the crowd, because it’s each time a battle from man to man.”

The Vuelta 2013 presentation from PedaleoWeb:

Australian Men’s Road Race National Championship 2013
Luke Durbridge stormed to victory in the elite men’s road race at the Mars Cycling Australia National Road Championships. The West Australian put himself in the early break and slowly but steadily rid himself of his breakmates to cross the finish line alone. Durbridge’s double affords him a unique place in cycling history. He is the first Australian male professional to take titles in both the time trial and road race in the same year.

“I want to thank my family, my coach Simon Jones, my girlfriend Lara and the entire ORICA-GreenEDGE team,” said Durbridge. “It’s all good to take the glory at the front of the race, but it doesn’t happen without a true team effort.”

Following the plan developed ahead of the race, Durbridge represented the Australian outfit in an early move. “At the start, Cameron [Meyer], Simon [Clarke] and I were given the job of going up the road,” he explained. “There was a bit of an attack early in the first lap, and I went away with a group of seven. We started to work together straightaway.”

The breakaway built up a gap of eight minutes over the first two large loops of the course at Buninyong.

“Once the gap got out to eight minutes, I knew there was a chance that we were racing to win,” explained Durbridge. “Generally when a break balloons out that far at nationals, there’s a chance the break will stay away. At that point, I knew it was up to me to step it up.”

As the laps ticked down, the break began to dwindle in size.
“We began to lose riders each lap,” noted Durbridge. “With three laps left, we were only three. I buried myself up the climb, and we got rid of Pat Shaw (Victoria). It was just me and Bernie Sulzberger (Tasmania) left after that.”

“Bernie is faster than me in the sprint,” he added. “I knew I had to get ahead of him.”

Durbridge launched his final attack on the penultimate lap.
“I buried myself up the hill with two laps left to race,” said Dubridge. “With Bernie gone, I only had to hold on for the win. The team had a plan, and we stuck to it. People see me take the win, and they don’t realise what goes behind back in the bunch to support my effort.”

Durbridge learned of the historical significance of his accomplishment shortly after earning the road title.
“It’s special to do the double,” he said. “Everyone has pointed out that that I’m the first, and I guess that makes it even more special. My focus has been to win the time trial. With that done, I wanted to do my job for the team in the road race. My job became to win for the team. I’m happy I could pull off the win.”

Michael Matthews, bronze medallist in the time trial, went one better today when we won the bunch sprint for silver in the road race. He outsprinted Steele Von Hoff (Victoria) for the second step on the podium.

“Everything worked out perfectly for us today,” said Sport Director Matt Wilson. “The guys really followed the plan. We had a plan with a number of different scenarios, and the boys executed brilliantly. Luke rode an incredible race. It was a great bonus to get Michael Matthews on the podium, too.”

The team’s effort today capped off a hugely successful national championships for ORICA-GreenEDGE that saw Australia’s WorldTour team claim all three titles plus two medals (silver, bronze) over six days of racing.
Thanks to the Orica-GreenEdge team for the race report.

Australian Men’s Road Race National Championship Result:
1. Luke Durbridge (WA) in 5:00:46
2. Michael Matthews (ACT) at 1:04
3. Steele Von Hoff (Vic)
4. Neil Van Der Ploeg (Vic)
5. Christopher Sutton (SA)
6. Jay McCarthy (Qld)
7. William Walker (Vic)
8. Zakkari Dempster (Vic)
9. Simon Gerrans (Vic)
10. Bernard Sulzberger (Tas).

Highlights of the men’s road race:

Australian Men’s Criterium National Championship 2013
Cameron Meyer put his well-honed time trial skills on display in the elite men’s criterium at the Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships. The Western Australian established an early solo lead after countering a move made by his brother Travis Meyer and managed to hold off the field for 26 laps en route to his third elite national title – his first in the criterium.

“It’s another special win,” said Cameron. “Obviously to win any Australian championship is special. I’m a little surprised as the criterium is not my forte. I’m definitely thought of more as a time trialist or road racer, but I went out there today and showed I have good form. We had some good tactics from the start, but we didn’t have to use them today.”

Those tactics included using the Meyer brothers to soften up the field ahead of a potential sprint finish. “We wanted to make the race as hard as possible,” said Sport Director Matt Wilson. “The Meyers are going really well, and the plan was to have them animate the race to make things as difficult as possible. Their attacks would impact the lead-outs for other teams and leave Leigh [Howard] fresh for the sprint. As it turned out, they made it so hard that they destroyed the field and Cam was able to ride away.”

Travis launched the first move and gained a ten second advantage. He was brought back before the first intermediate sprint, and his catch prompted Cameron’s attack several laps later.

“Travis went in the first couple laps,” explained Cameron. “Four or five laps after he went, I took my turn. I never thought it was the race winning move. I went out to the front and hoped some other riders might come across. It’s hard to stay away for that long. No one came, so I just kept going. Still no one came, and I kept going some more. Eventually, I had to commit myself.”

Cameron admits that he didn’t allow himself to consider the win within reach until the final five laps. “I’ve been in the situation before,” he noted. “Many times, it comes back and you get caught. It looks good but you get nowhere. I thought that’s what would happen today as the gap held around 20 seconds. Further into the race, Matt Wilson was standing on the side and yelling at me to keep going. With ten laps left, he told me the field was cracking. That’s when I started to think I had a chance. Not until four or five laps to go did I think I could win.”

With Cameron up the road, the rest of the ORICA-GreenEDGE team began to think about the lesser places. “Travis attacked with one lap to go, and it looked like he had a pretty good gap to hold on for second,” said Wilson. “The bunch swallowed him up just before the line. Leigh went for it in the sprint, but [Steele] Von Hoff managed to pip him on the line. Leigh managed third in the end.”

With two hugely successful days behind them, the team looks forward to Sunday’s road race. “We’ve won two titles now,” said Cameron. “We’re looking to add the big one on Sunday and make it three for three.”
Thanks to the Orica-GreenEdge team for the race info.

Australian Criterium National Championships Result:
1. Cameron Meyer (WA) in 59:49
2. Steele Von Hoff (VIC) at 0:16
3. Leigh Howard (VIC)
4. Ben Grenda (TAS)
5. Jonathan Cantwell (Qld)
6. Chris Jory (NSW)
7. Neil Van Der Ploeg (VIC)
8. James Mowatt (VIC)
9. Anthony Giacoppo (WA)
10. Shaun Mccarthy (VIC).

The men’s Crit:

Australian Women’s Road Race National Championship 2013
When ORICA-AIS missed the second significant break during the Australian National Road Championships, Gracie Elvin jumped to follow Sport Director Dave McPartland’s instruction to get across to the three riders up the road. Elvin bridged alone to join what would become the race winning move and won the four-up sprint to take the biggest win of her young career. “It hasn’t sunk in yet,” admitted the newly crowned national champion. “I’m pretty excited. It’s great to be part of a team that’s so happy for me. I think that’s the best part at the moment. I had the support on the road during the race, and I have my team’s excitement for me now with the title. Everyone is really happy, and that makes me even more happy.”

A team effort netted Elvin the win. Jessie MacLean was the first ORICA-AIS rider to head up the road. An early four rider move gained a maximum advantage of slightly more than three minutes before the peloton began to chase in earnest.
“Jessie’s move came back with three laps left to race,” said McPartland. “She and another rider in the break attacked on the climb at the same time the peloton started to attack. Everything came back together before that lap had finished.”

With two laps left to race, Jo Hogan (Victoria), Carla Ryan (Queensland) and Miranda Griffiths (Victoria) escaped from the bunch. “We didn’t have anyone in the move, and I wasn’t very happy about that,” admitted McPartland. “The second to last time up the climb, I yelled out to the girls that someone needed to get across. Gracie responded right away.”

“When I got the yell from Macca to go, I attacked the group and assumed the others would follow,” Elvin added. “I thought Tiff [Cromwell] or Shara [Gillow] would counter attack. I was surprised that didn’t happen. When I realized they were letting me go, I decided to put the hammer down and commit to getting across on my own.”

Elvin felt confident that she would have the upper hand in the sprint and was conscious of the energy she expended ahead of the finish. “Once I bridged across, I knew I needed to look after myself,” she noted. “I didn’t do too much work. I put in a bit more effort near the end out of fear in the group that there was a strong rider bridging across, but she never made it.”

Heading into the final kilometres, Elvin kept a close eye on her breakmates. She expected them to attack her as they heading towards the finish.

“I think the other girls knew that I had them in the sprint, so I waited for them to start attacking me,” she said. “They never did. Actually, it started getting slower and slower towards they end. They stalled with 400 metres to go, so I went for it. It was a long way out, but I managed to hold it for the win.”

Elvin maintains that it could have easily been any of her teammates pulling on the gold and green jersey this afternoon. “The whole team rode really well,” she said. “We had a few plans, and we were all prepared to back each another all the way to the end. It could have been any of us today.”
Thanks to the ORICA-AIS team for the race report.

Australian Women’s Road Race National Championship Result:
1. Gracie Elvin (ACT) in 3:01:07
2. Joanne Hogan (Vic)
3. Carla Ryan (Qld)
4. Miranda Griffiths (Vic)
5. Ruth Corset (Qld) at 0:18
6. Shara Gillow (Qld)
7. Tiffany Cromwell (SA)
8. Rachel Neylan (SA)
9. Grace Sulzberger (Tas) at 0:20
10. Peta Mullens (Vic) at 1:19.

The women’s road race:

2013 Cyclo-cross National Championships Round Up

After a strong start from Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games), which looked to be the winning move, Pauwels seemed to hit a brick wall and the others in the chase group came up to him. Team mate Klaas Vantornout, Sven Nys (Crelan-Euphony) and World champion Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) with the Telenet-Fidea pair; Rob Peeters and Bart Wellens hot on their heels. Albert was looking strong, but Vantornout gain a small advantage on the final lap and they couldn’t catch him.

Belgian National Cyclo-cross Championships Result:
1. Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) in 1:04:02
2. Sven Nys (Crelan-Euphony) at 0:06
3. Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) at 0:11.

The link to Sporza.

Lars van der Haar (Rabobank Giant) beat the five year reigning champion; Lars Boom (Blanco) after the two broke away in the first lap. Thijs van Amerongen (AA Drink) managed to stay with hang on to the pair until van der Haar mde his move to solo to the finish. Boom fought off van Amerongen for second.

Dutch National Cyclo-cross Championships Result:
1. Lars van der Haar (Rabobank Giant Offroad) in 1:02:00
2. Lars Boom (Blanco Pro Cycling) at 0:53
3. Thijs van Amerongen (AA Drink) at 0:58.

Francis Mourey (FDJ) was by far the best rider on the muddy course as he dominated the race. John Gadret (ag2r-La Mondiale) was in a good position for the silver medal, but Mourey’s FDJ team mate Arnold Jeannesson caught and passed him.

French National Cyclo-cross Championships Result:
1. Francis Mourey (FDJ) in 1:01:06
2. Arnold Jeannesson (FDJ) at 1:17
3. John Gadret (ag2r-La Mondiale) at 3:15.

Jonathan Page (ENGVT) won the US National cyclo-cross title in Wisconsin; it had been 8 years since his last championship Gold medal. On a snow bound circuit he went into the lead in the second lap and kept the others at that gap to the finish. Zach McDonald (Rapha-Focus) fought for a fine second place as James Driscoll (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld) took third ahead of a split bunch.

USA National Cyclo-cross Championships Result:
1. Jonathan Page (ENGVT) in 58:31
2. Zach McDonald (Team Rapha-FOCUS) at 0:47
3. James Driscoll (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld) at 0:59.

Great Britain:
Ian Field (Hargroves Cycles-Specialized) held onto his title after attacking on the first lap, he was chased all the way to the finish by Ian Bibby (Madison Genisis) and David Fletcher (Orange Monkey-Cannondale) won the sprint for the bronze medal.

GB National Cyclo-cross Championships Result:
1. Ian Field (Hargroves Cycles-Specialized)
2. Ian Bibby (Madison Genesis)
3. David Fletcher (Orange Monkey-Cannondale).

Italian National Cyclo-cross Championships Result:
1. Marco Fontana (Cannondale Factory Team) 1:04:21
2. Enrico Franzoi (Selle Italia Guerciotti Elite) at 0:32
3. Mirko Tabacchi (GS Forestale) at 2:43.

Spanish National Cyclo-cross Championships Result:
1. Aitor Hernбndez (Orbea Ermua)
2. Egoitz Murgoitio (Hirumet Taldea)
3. Javier Ruiz de Larrinaga (MMR Spiuk).

Swiss National Cyclo-cross Championships Result:
1. Julien Taramarcaz (BMC)
2. Simon Zahner
3. Ralph Nдf.

Zdenek Stybar Wins Seventh Czech National Cyclo-Cross Championship
Ties Czech Record for Career Cyclo-Cross Titles

Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Zdenek Stybar won the Czech National Cyclo-Cross Championship on Saturday, in his hometown of Stribro, for the seventh time in his career! He now holds the record for Czech titles along with Radomнr Љimunek, Sr., father of current rider Radomнr Љimunek, Junior.

“I hope next year to be able to beat him, but it is already nice to join a Czech legend like Radomнr,” Stybar said of his record tying victory. “My father was organizing the race. A lot of people of my hometown helped to organize this event. I’m happy to be a part of it. I was not really stressed, maybe a little bit. The track was looking quite easy but I knew it would be hard. I was planning to stay with the guys in the first part of the race and in the third lap I attacked. I was alone with a seven second gap. The lap after I increased the gap and stayed alone. It was nice! I’m happy that my shape is good. Now I can be full gas for the road races.”

Stybar’s victory is the second already for OPQS in 2013, after the great 6-Days of Rotterdam win by Iljo Keisse and Niki Terpstra.

AFAS Sponsor UCI World Championships
Belgian software company AFAS will be partners with the UCI for the 2013 World championships in Louisville, Kentucky. Previously Exergy were the title sponsor before announcing their withdrawl, AFAS have stepped in to support the first ever cyclo-cross World championships outside of Europe.

Yea, OK:

Chain Reaction join An Post-Sean Kelly
Chain Reaction Cycles; the World’s largest online bike store will be a title sponsor of the Irish/Belgian UCI Continental An Post-Sean Kelly team for 2013. The team will be riding Vitus bikes which are promoted by Sean Kelly and sold by Chain Reaction Cycles, thus tying everything together nicely.

An Post-Chain Reaction Cycles-Sean Kelly team riders:
Sam Bennett,
Ronan McLaughlin,
Sean Downey,
Jack Wilson,
Mark McNally,
Kieran Frend,
Glenn O’Shea,
Aaron Gate,
Shane Archbold,
Niko Eeckhout,
Wout Franssen,
Pieter Ghyllebert,
Niels Wytinck,
Alphonse Vermote,
Steven Van Vooren,
Laurent Vanden Bak,
Nicolas Vereecken.

The old An Post-Sean Kelly promo from 2008:

Steven de Jongh; DS for Saxo-Tinkoff
After leaving Sky, Steven de Jongh wasn’t sure what his next move would be, but Bjarne Riis had been looking for a sixth team director and was happy to sign the 39 year old Belgian. De Jongh said in a press release: “After I left Team Sky, I simply didn’t know what the future would hold for me. But in early January I had some conversations with Bjarne and the team, and this developed into a job offer and a fantastic opportunity for me personally. I’m really looking forward to start this new chapter of my career as a sport director, and I’m grateful for the confidence the team has shown me.” De Jongh was a professional rider for 14 years before working for Sky, he has since admitted EPO use in the 90’s.

Steven De Jongh wins the Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen 2009:

BMC Racing Team Presented For 2013
Press Release: The 26 riders on the 2013 edition of the BMC Racing Team, which features reigning world road champion Philippe Gilbert, were presented Friday at the new BMC Concept Store in Eke, Belgium.

Four New Riders
Last year, the BMC Racing Team placed two riders in the top 10 at the Tour de France (Tejay van Garderen, fifth, and Cadel Evans, seventh) while winning the best young rider classification (van Garderen). The U.S.-registered squad also won multiple stages at both the Giro d’Italia (Taylor Phinney and Marco Pinotti) and the Vuelta a Espaсa (two by Gilbert and one by Stephen Cummings) and finished second in the inaugural world team time trial. Three former world road champions are on the roster: Alessandro Ballan, Evans and Thor Hushovd. (Ballan was unable to attend the presentation, but appeared via Skype.) The roster also includes current Swiss national road champion Martin Kohler and reigning national Danish road champion Sebastian Lander, who joins fellow newcomers Dominik Nerz, Daniel Oss and Larry Warbasse.

Select questions and answers from the presentation:
In 2010, the BMC Racing Team made a big step by adding top talents. The following year was Cadel Evans’s Tour the France victory, and in 2012, the team placed two riders in the top 10 at the Tour de France, earned stage wins in two of the three grand tours and a world road title. Is the BMC Racing Team where you thought you would be at this point and what lays ahead?

Jim Ochowicz, President/General Manager:
“I think we are on track with our original strategy. Of course, winning the Tour de France and winning the world championships are highlights for any team – including our own. From an all-around performance basis, I think we are on track for where we thought we would be and, in some cases, maybe yet not there. Because one of the places we wanted to find success was in the classics and we not yet won a classic in the spring. I think that is still a goal that we need to attain. Another big objective is a podium place at a grand tour.”

There are some new sport directors on the BMC Racing Team this year, as well as four new riders. What are you looking for from these newcomers?

John Lelangue, Directeur Sportif:
“Yes, we have two new sport directors: Yvon Ledanois and one of our former riders, Jackson Stewart. We also have new young riders as well as experienced young riders. One of those for the stage races is Dominik Nerz and one for the classic races is Daniel Oss. I think that they will integrate well our the organization and it’s good to have young guys coming up. We also looked to add two young guys that we want to develop step by step: Larry Warbasse and Sebastian Lander. Those guys are more in a learning process for the first season. They will be there to learn the job of a teammate. But all of these new riders are are going to be of help to our leaders.”

Tejay van Garderen helped Cadel Evans at the Tour de France last year and finished as the best young rider while placing fifth overall. How often will the two integrate this season?

John Lelangue, Directeur Sportif:
“They will be on two different race programs most of the time. For example, Tejay is going to the Tour de San Luis while Cadel will go to the Tour of Oman. In the first big WorldTour stage races, Tejay will be trying for his own chances at Paris-Nice and Cadel will be at Tirreno-Adriatico. So they will be on two different programs for most of the time, but they will be joining together in the Tour de France. Of course, both of them want good individual results in those one-week WorldTour stage races and it’s good to split them up so they have their own chances. It’s important for them and the for the team. We will give them both the best support in all of those races. The one-week stage races that are important to the team include Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico, the Amgen Tour of California, the Criterium du Dauphine, Tour de Suisse, Tour de Romandie, Volta a Catalunya and the Tour of the Basque Country.

For the classics, you have so many options: Philippe Gilbert, Thor Hushovd, Taylor Phinney and Greg Van Avermaet among others. Are there any particular goals you have set for this group?

John Lelangue, Directeur Sportif:
“We will see at the begin at the season. We can’t forget the loss of Alessandro Ballan, because he was one of our best last season. So that is unfortunate for us. But it is clear we have a strong classics team. We have strong leaders for those kinds of races and we have a strong support and back-up team. When you think about people like Marcus Burghardt, Michael Schдr and Manueal Quinziato, these are people who have a big experience in the classics. We are also adding a young guy like Daniel Oss. So it’s good we have a strong team to go to all the one-day classics of the WorldTour. Plus, there will be different objectives for each of them. For example we know that Philippe Gilbert is really concentrating on the one week of the Ardennes Classics (Amstel, Fleche-Wallonne, Liege-Bastogne-Liege) and he can be expecting to do some of the Flanders races.”

“Thor Hushovd is more excited for Paris-Roubaix, but he will be also compete at the Flanders classics. So I think there will be place for everyone. It’s always interesting to have a different strategy – one that involves having a few guys, so we are not isolated with one leader. It will be more interesting for us also. We also know at those races that a lot can happen: little crashes, technical problems at a bad moment, punctures, etc. So it is always really difficult to put all the pressure on one person. The good thing for us is that they are all professional and that they are all working together and sacraficing themselves for the other one. Because at the end, the most important thing is the team.”

Stephen Cummings finished the season strong (winning stages at the Vuelta a Espaсa and the Tour of Beijing) last year after suffering through a series of injuries. What will better health bring for him this year?

John Lelangue, Directeur Sportif:
“We will look to him to grow as a really good teammate. He is surely somebody who can go into a breakaway because once he is in one, he is a strong engine. But he is also there to bring the necessary support to some of our GC (general classification) leaders for the one-week stage races.”

The BMC GF01 for 2013:

Bianchi and Team Vacansoleil-DCM Ready for 2013 Season
Press Release: The 2013 season of Vacansoleil-DCM team, equipped with Bianchi Oltre XR bikes, started officially at EYE, a cinema museum and theatre in Amsterdam (Netherlands), on Wednesday, January 9th.

The official presentation was opened by the images of Marco Marcato’s victory in Paris-Tours and the striking stage win of Thomas De Gendt on Stelvio’s top at Giro d’Italia, two of the unforgettable moments for Dutch team and Bianchi Oltre bikes in 2012.

Salvatore Grimaldi, Founder and CEO of the Grimaldi Industry and Bianchi Chairman and Bianchi CEO Bob Ippolito, attended the event together with the Bianchi team liaison staff to confirm the ongoing collaboration between Bianchi and Vacansoleil-DCM.

The Dutch team will face the new 2013 World Tour season with a 29-rider roster, including Spaniard Juan Antonio Flecha, on saddle of the new Oltre XR, Bianchi’s monocoque carbon frame designed for extreme performance and developed with Vacansoleil-DCM riders. Thanks to the combination of UMS40 and CN60 Ultra High Modulus carbon fibers, the Oltre XR features 30gr weight reduction and 20% increased rigidity compared to Oltre model. The extreme rigidity to weight ratio of the new Oltre XR provides optimal climbing performance while the aero shape of the frame assures the highest speeds in both flat and downhill sections.

The team will be also supplied with the Infinito and the Impulso models for the Classics campaign and with Pico Crono Carbon for time trial races.

2013 Vacansoleil-DCM team:
Newcomers: Boy van Poppel, Danny van Poppel, Grega Bole, Josй Rujano, Juan Antonio Flecha, Wesley Kreder, Willem Wauters.

Confirmed: Wouter Mol, Wout Poels, Pim Ligthart, Lieuwe Westra, Martijn Keizer, Rob Ruijgh, Johnny Hoogerland, Sergey Lagutin, Frederick Veuchelen, Thomas De Gendt, Romain Feillu, Marco Marcato, Bjцrn Leukemans, Mirko Selvaggi, Bert-Jan Lindeman, Barry Markus, Kenny van Hummel, Kris Boeckmans, Maurits Lammertink, Tomasz Marczynski, Rafael Valls, Nikita Novikov.

The Bianchi Oltre XR:

ORICA-GreenEDGE for Tour Down Under
Following the Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships, ORICA-GreenEDGE has finalized their seven rider Santos Tour Down Under team. Matt Goss will represent the team’s interests in the sprints and defending champion Simon Gerrans has been tapped as the team leader for the overall. Daryl Impey, Jens Mouris, Luke Durbridge, Simon Clarke and Stuart O’Grady will support Goss and Gerrans while actively seeking out any personal opportunities that might materialize.

“We’re bringing a strong team, and we’re hoping to pick up a stage win,” said Sport Director Matt Wilson. “Gerrans has free reign to have a crack at the overall. Last year, winning the Tour Down Under felt essential. This year, we’re taking a different approach. Wins at the Tour Down Under are now one of many goals for our second season.”

ORICA-GreenEDGE for Tour Down Under
Daryl Impey,
Jens Mouris,
Luke Durbridge,
Matt Goss,
Simon Clarke,
Simon Gerrans,
Stuart O’Grady.

ORICA GreenEDGE Cycling team members talk about the Santos Tour Down Under:

Lampre-Merida Ride Tropical Amissa Bongo
Team LAMPRE-MERIDA is going to face a new experience for the start of the season. For the first time in its 20 year history, the team will take part in an African race from 14 to 20 January; the Tropical Amissa Bongo.

The cyclists that will live this new adventure will be: Matteo Bono, Mattia Cattaneo, Massimo Graziato, Andrea Palini and Luca Wackermann. Luca Dodi will not start because of the serious illness he occurred in December. The team will be directed by Fabrizio Bontempi, who’ll be supported by mechanics Baron and Panseri, by masseurs Varalli and Bertolone and by doctor De Grandi.

The 8th edition of the African race has 7 stages, which are mainly in the Gabon and will go over the border into Cameroon.

The Race Route:
1st stage (14 January): Bitam-Ebolowa (149,2 km)
2nd stage (15 January): Yaounde-Yaounde (115,2 km)
3rd stage (16 gennaio): Oyem-Bitam (110,4 km)
4th stage (17 gennaio): Oyem-Mitzic (109 km)
5th stage (18 gennaio): Lambarene-Mouila (190,4 km)
6th stage (19 gennaio): Lambarene-Kango (147,5 km)
7th stage: (20 gennaio): Owendo-Libreville (127,5 km)

“La Tropicale Amissa Bongo will be an involving newness,” sport director Fabrizio Bontempi explained. “The fascination of a new background will spur the cyclists of the team, who are all very young and they will look too the experienced Matteo Bono as the charismatic leader.”

Lotto Belisol at La Tropicale Amissa Bongo
The only rider of Lotto Belisol, who has got experience with the Tour of Gabon is Frйderique Robert, who rode it two years ago as a neo-pro at Quick Step.

Frйderique Robert: “I like racing in Gabon. Unlike most of the time with the pros it’s a race with a lot of attacks. The nature is very beautiful; you really get a taste of the African culture. When we arrived we were a bit patronizing about the African cycling culture, but I have to say there is talent out there. Together with the heat and humidity it makes that the European teams don’t get freedom. At that time the hotels where we stayed and the food weren’t of a high quality, but I heard that the accommodation has improved thanks to the Africa Cup soccer that took place there last year. Two years ago I finished second and third in a bunch sprint and I hope to do better this year, so I want to win a stage. Apart from that we have to try to let some of our riders play a role in the GC.”

Selection Lotto Belisol:
Dirk Bellemakers,
Gaлtan Bille,
Gert Dockx,
Maarten Neyens,
Vicente Reynes,
Frйderique Robert.
Sports director: Jean-Pierre Heynderickx.

La Tropicale Amissa Bongo line up
Press Release: Team MTN-Qhubeka powered by Samsung will debut its first year as a Professional Continental team in La Tropicale Amissa Bongo. The race takes place in Gabon from the 14.01.13 – 20.01.13. Meron Russom finished in second place overall last year, missing victory by only 8 seconds.

“This year’s race is a little earlier than last year so my condition isn’t exactly the same but I am still happy with my preparation,” Russom said. “My aim is to win a stage or finish on the podium. I am also happy to help the team if we find one of my teammates is stronger than me.”

The race start list has been boosted by the addition of two WorldTour and two Professional Continental teams.
“The standard of racing is sure to be high,” said Sports Director, Kevin Campbell. “UCI points are at a premium this year and even if some of the top teams send their less well known riders, they will still be motivated to perform.

“Meron and Jani both raced really well last year and I expect them to do well again. Tsgabu is an unknown factor to the other teams so I know he will also perform really well. Jacques, Louis and Songezo are all able to offer excellent support and obtain some excellent results themselves.”

Team MTN-Qhubeka La Tropicale Amissa Bongo 14.01.13 – 20.01.13:
Tsgabu GRMAY (ETH),
Songezo JIM (RSA),

La Tropicale Amissa Bongo 2012 Stage 4 Highlights:

Lotto Belisol: Sports Manager Marc Sergeant
Press Release: The warming-up is almost over, his disciples will soon be dispersing all over the world and sports manager Marc Sergeant is taking the time on training camp in Benicassim to talk about Lotto Belisol, the Belgian cycling project, the assigning of the licence, the power of the big teams and so much more. Each time with an overview, but still to the point.

Marc Segeant about the late assignment of the licence: “We never panicked. Only the day of the announcement – we were on training camp in Mojacar – the decision stayed out till the evening and you noticed that everyone was thinking ‘now they may give clarity’. When you take a look at the items which we only had to elucidate, we knew it could hardly go wrong, but you are only certain when the UCI puts you on the list.”

Marc Sergeant about the importance of the rider value: “For a WorldTour team not only the WorldTour races count. Otherwise we wouldn’t have had any problems with our eleventh place. Our riders can also score points in the continental circuit. And that’s where we have to do better in 2013. We have to start every race with a clear goal and we can’t afford to just ride along anywhere. Every team agrees that the system to award points, set up the classifications and so the sportive criteria to assign the licences can improve. I hope this will change by 2014.”

Marc Sergeant about the power of the big teams: “With Lotto Belisol we can’t compete with the teams with the highest budgets. We can only try to get the maximum out of the available potential and we succeeded pretty good last year. But when big teams come and take riders who got the chance in our team to grow, then we have to pass. Sometimes that’s frustrating, especially because with the way of taking the score you don’t have a permanent result of the achieved results with that rider. It’s as if Mbokani would score 25 times for Anderlecht, makes a transfer and Anderlecht should yield the points it obtained thanks to the goals of Mbokani.”

Marc Sergeant about the classics: “We have already often said that we were decapitated because for example Jurgen Roelandts was injured. But of course the Flemish spring has been given an spot in the goals we have set. Between the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Paris-Roubaix we want to win a classic. Which one? That is less important, but we have to play a role.”
Thanks to the Lotto Belisol team.

Marc Sergeant when he was a rider in the 1987 Tour de France stage 5 Pforzheim-Strasbourg:

2013 Giro del Trentino announcing stage-2 top-finish at Valsugana’s Vetriolo Terme
Press Release: Cycling has already left its mark in Valsugana thanks to the indisputable Settimana Tricolore’s last summer success, highlighted by an intense and spectacular Italian Close Championships pro-race.

Giro del Trentino (April 16th-19th) get engaged to renew the same excitement with the 37th edition’s stage2 finish line in Vetriolo Terme on April 17th, whilst departure of the third stage takes place in Pergine Valsugana. GS Alto Garda announced the agreement following that already refined in Austria. In fact, 2013 Giro del Trentino will move from Lienz, with two half-stages, the latter – on April 16th in the afternoon – being a team time trial.

On Wednesday, April 17th the riders will move from Austrian small town of Sillian, though km 0 placed in Versiaco right beyond Italian border. It will be the Giro del Trentino’s longer stage, about 220 km. In the first fourth of the race, all in descent, a high average speed is expected. The first peak of the day, Val di Fiemme’s Passo di Lavazй, is set just after half-course, with riders going down to Tesero and Cavalese then.

The stage juicy part will be the 13-km final ramp to the 1.550 meters of Vetriolo, marked out by Madonna della Neve church. The ascent features fifteen hairpin turns with until 10,2% slopes. On this climb, American Andrew Hampsten secured the win at 1988 Giro d’Italia by taking victory in the timed uphill stage.

“The Giro del Trentino became a big international event and we are glad to welcome such event in Valsugana this year –Stefano Ravelli, Chairman of the local Tourism Office, said –. The course is really spectacular and technical high-rated. It will be another opportunity to display our valley’s beauties with its landscapes and the magnificent cycling lanes to a worldwide audience.”

Giro del Trentino 2012 Stage 4:

Movistar to Australia & Argentina
Movistar Team is ready for their first two challenges of the year at the Tour Down Under, in Oceania, and the Tour de San Luis, in South America

Press Release: Just like they did in the last two seasons, Movistar Team will start their long 2013 with two stops in America and Oceania. The Tour Down Under in Australia -which opens the WorldTour on January 22-27, with the People’s Choice Classic in Adelaida as a preface two days earlier- and the Tour de San Luis -the most important stagerace in South America, from the 21st to the 27th of January- will fire the gun for the telephone squad, bringing two strong rosters for both races.

In South Australia, Josй Luis Arrieta will direct a 7-man group composed by Josй Joaquнn Rojas -3rd place finisher in 2008 and 2009-, Javi Moreno -8th last year, after solid teamwork-, Andrey Amador, Josй Herrada, Eros Capecchi –who will debut in his new colors-, Ivбn Gutiйrrez and Giovanni Visconti.

In turn, six riders will defend the new Movistar Team jersey in the Spanish team’s 3rd appearance in the Argentinian event. Directed by Josй Luis Jaimerena, Jonathan Castroviejo, Juanjo Cobo, Jesъs Herrada, Vladimir Karpets, debutant Eloy Teruel and Spanish road champion Fran Ventoso will compete in America.

A day with the Movistar team part 1:

Team Sky Launch New Training App Powered by Map My Tracks
Press Release: The official Team Sky Cycling app for iPhone, which allows riders to record, monitor and analyse their training just like the pro riders, launches today.

Created in partnership with Team Sky’s official supplier, Map My Tracks, the free Team Sky Cycling app uses the latest in GPS live tracking technology to allow fans as well as Team Sky pro riders to track and share their rides live for others to follow on the web.

With the ability to connect to ANT+ devices such as SRM or Powertap power meters, riders will also be able to stream live power, cadence, heart rate, speed, elevation and other performance data to coaches via the Map My Tracks cloud network. Each heartbeat, pedal stroke, mile and watt produced can be monitored to provide riders, and coaches alike, with a unique real-time performance overview.

Map My Tracks’ training and fitness apps extend beyond individual rider solutions. Coaches, teams and sports event organisers can monitor, broadcast and share real-time biometric data from any number of participants in an event live on the web. From club rides to World Tour races, the Map My Tracks event app tracking get online fans closer to the action than ever before.

First launched in 2007, Map My Tracks has, for over five years, pioneered the use of mobile phones to record and stream live performance telemetry for sports like cycling and running. Map My Tracks has sports enthusiasts streaming activities live from over 190 countries and provides event organisers with live GPS tracking solutions for cycle races, sailing regattas and running events.

Fran Millar, Head of Business Operations, from Team Sky said: “Giving our fans access to training and tracking technology with Map My Tracks is a great way for them to get an insight into Team Sky and how our riders prepare throughout the year. The app also encourages riders of all levels to analyse and record their own data and then share their results with fellow cyclists.”

Nick Tatt, founder of Map My Tracks said: “We have worked hard with Team Sky to ensure the Team Sky Cycling app is easy to use and will help people with their training.”

Tatt continued: “The app takes advantage of our very latest live tracking technology which lets friends and family follow a rider’s progress live and comment on their performance as they hit the climbs. With the addition of live heart rate, power and cadence it makes the Team Sky training app an obvious training accessory to take on any ride.”

To download the Team Sky Cycling app for free, please visit the App Store or search ‘Team Sky Cycling’: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/team-sky-cycling/id378061299?mt=8.

Users may upgrade the training section of the Team Sky Cycling app with an in-app purchase of Ј2.99.

For more information and instructions on how to download Map My Tracks applications please visit: https://www.mapmytracks.com.

Team Sky – Meals on Wheels – Breakfast:

Steve Bauer creates CanFondo Ride for Southern Ontario
Press Release: The inaugural Steve Bauer CanFondo hosted by Canadian cycling legend Steve Bauer and joined by Phil Liggett, the “voice of cycling”, will be held on Saturday September 7, 2013 and feature a 160km and 75km route using scenic Southern Ontario country roads within Halton, Kitchener Waterloo and Cambridge regions. The primary beneficiaries of the ride will be the Milton Velodrome Capital Campaign and Share the Road cycling advocacy organization.

“Our CanFondo will be the ultimate group ride where I will be proud to ride alongside cycling enthusiasts of all abilities, showcasing some amazing scenic country roads here in Southern Ontario while fueling the passion for the bike,” said Steve Bauer. “The course will be safe, fully supported and benefit Canadian cycling in general, and specifically the Milton Velodrome as well as the vitally important Share the Road initiative.”

The Chair of the Velodrome fund raising committee Howard Chang said: “Steve Bauer has been behind the Pan Am 2015 Velodrome project from day one. He has been invaluable as an expert consultant and a committed supporter of cycling. As Chair of the velodrome fund raising committee, I am thrilled that Steve Bauer’s CanFondo will both support the capital campaign and be a first class event that will showcase our beautiful sport to all levels of riders.”

Milton Mayor Gordon Krantz said, “On behalf of Milton Council, I would like to thank Steve Bauer for hosting the inaugural Steve Bauer CanFondo Ride and all the cycling participants for supporting Steve’s CanFondo.” His worship Mayor Krantz added: “This first time event will not only heighten the interest of cycling in Halton, it will also greatly benefit the capital fundraising campaign for the Milton Pan Am and Parapan Am Velodrome.”

Eleanor McMahon, CEO of the Share the Road Cycling Coalition, is also excited about the new Steve Bauer CanFondo: “We are thrilled that cycling legend Steve Bauer has chosen to host a Ride in Halton Region in support of the Pam Am 2015 Velodrome and the Share the Road Cycling Coalition. Cyclists of all ages and abilities will have the opportunity to ride with one of Canada’s best in the sport, and at the same time support initiatives that further the development of safe cycling programs and the growth of bicycle friendly communities in Ontario. We look forward to participating in this exciting event.”

The Steve Bauer CanFondo will offer state of the art ProChip timing by Sportstats.ca for all participants and during the ride certain friendly age group sprint and climb competitions will take place. In addition, Steve will be announcing over the coming weeks, additional well-known celebrities from the world of cycling who will join him, in supporting all the participants and the important causes to benefit from Steve Bauer’s CanFondo.

Following the ride, a summer end BBQ festival will take place featuring local musicians, regional food and beverages designed for a fun and fitting way to celebrate a glorious day on the bike.

Online registration and detailed information including route will be available on Tuesday January 29 at www.CanFondo.com

The Steven Bauer documentary:

OPQS Team Presentation: A Spectacle not to be Missed!
Press Release: Everything is prepared for the big show on Tuesday, Jan. 15th! The Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team riders will arrive in Belgium tomorrow, straight from a very productive training camp in Calpe, Spain.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the riders will then be ready for the OPQS Team Presentation/OPQS Championships. The Team Presentation for the Press starts at 4 p.m., and the real show — the track race — will be at 8 p.m. The winner of the race between our OPQS riders will receive the first OPQS Champion Jersey in team history. The riders will be completely surrounded by the team’s guests, supporters, and sponsors in a sold out event.

In Belgium it is possible to follow the event on channel Sport 10, starting at 8 o’clock, and for all the supporters it is also possible to follow the live stream event on the OPQS website at the same time.

The program of the team presentation can be found at the following link: https://www.omegapharma-quickstep.com/championships.

Cav is back!

A Chinese 1st?
Not really sure what to say about this video, it’s a team training for the Tour de Quinghai Lake, I’m told!

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