What's Cool In Road Cycling

EuroTrash Monday!

The first big races of the year are done and dusted and we already have some controversy with Garmin-Cervйlo director Matt White sacked straight after leading his team to victory in Australia. The cyclocross World Cup is wrapped up by the Belgians, Tour de France teams announced and much more. It’s EuroTrash time!

White Sacked !
My top story today is the news out of Australia yesterday that Garmin-Cervйlo director, Matt White has been dismissed from the team for violating a team rule concerning riders using outside medical care.

Garmin team manager Jonathan Vaughters flew to Australia to personally deliver the bad news to White claiming that he had no choice but to terminate White after he learned that White had sent Trent Lowe to see Spanish doctor Luis del Moral for VO2 testing. Del Moral is most famous or perhaps infamous for being director of the U.S. Postal Service team’s medical staff from 1999 to 2003 and has been implicated in possible doping at that time. Due to this and the fact that Slipstream Sports who owns and runs the Garmin-Cervйlo team don’t allow any outside medical assistance away from their approved team doctors meant that team rules were violated and White was subsequently terminated.

Vaughters was at pains to insist that the termination had nothing to do with the rumour that White will be the Head Sports Director of the new GreenEDGE Australian team that will start next year stating;

“Even if Matt White was going to GreenEDGE next year, we would have continued working together through the end of the 2011 season. This has nothing to do with that.”

Meanwhile White released a short statement on the affair on for him what was truly a day of contrasts. Earlier in the day he directed his young charge Cameron Meyer to a great overall victory in the Tour Down Under to then be sacked just hours later.

”My commitment as sports director has always been to ensuring the optimal health and well-being of our riders, so when Trent Lowe, who was living in Valencia and who had been sick for a long time, came to me for help, I sent him to the local Valencian sports institute for testing so we could find out what we were dealing with.

I understand that the rules are the rules, I am sorry for my mistake and I am ready to move on. There is so much opportunity for cycling overseas and here in Australia, that the decision really will be best for both of me and the team. The lads know I wish them all the best for 2011.”

I’ve spent some time with Whitey before having interviewed him a couple of times here for Pez plus the odd bit of training and racing together and I have to say he’s a pretty genuine guy and I’d be surprised if there was anything nefarious going on here with del Moral. Saying that though I have to admire Vaughters and Slipstreams Sports adhesion to their own strict rules. To fire one of the most well liked and tactically astute directors in the game today over an infringement of rules takes a lot of courage and it’s at least encouraging to see that some people in this sport do take abiding by the rules very seriously. It’s certainly a shame for Whitey to lose his job immediately after leading the team to success in the TDU but I’m sure he’ll bounce back into another directing role very soon.

To check out my old interviews with Whitey back when he was a rider where he ironically chats about Trent Lowe click here

Tour de France Teams
Last week’s announcements of the wildcard selections for the Tour de France teams has been understandably well received here in France from where I write this column after all four wild cards awarded went to French teams. The four lucky teams are Cofidis, FDJ, Saur Sojasun and Europcar with the unlucky teams like Skil/Shimano, Bretagne-Schuller and Geox-TMC having to stay at home in July.

The announcement was a bitter disappointment for the Geox-TMC team with their two pronged GC attack of Carlos Sastre and Denis Menchov not deemed exciting enough by race organisers to merit a wildcard. The full team list for the Tour is as follows:

4 Wild Card Teams :

Milan San Remo Teams
After missing out on invites for Tirreno-Adriatco, Paris-Nice and the Tour de France, Mauro Gianetti and his Geox-TMC squad were able to finally breathe a sigh of relief when the 25 teams for Milan San Remo were announced with his team there in black and white for all to see. Finally his boys can go to a race! Ironically races like Paris-Nice and the Tour de France were somewhere where their squad would have had a chance of results but Milan-San Remo? Are we going to see Menchov and Sastre attacking over the Poggio for the victory? Highly unlikely. Their best bet for a victory there is probably Xavier Florencio but he is certainly a LONG shot for the victory.

So now that the team at least knows they are going to Milan-San Remo – what will they be wearing? It’s now Jan 24 and we still have no clothing presented to the public! In fact team riders are currently training in all black clothing and there is currently no word as to when the team will be officially presented to the public, a website launched etc etc. This combined with the UCI snubbing of their WorldTour license, alleged management power struggles and rumours of riders wanting to abandon ship are not good signs for the team. Hopefully we’ll not be seeing another Pegasus here.

The 25 teams going to Milan-Sanremo will be;
The 18 WorldTour teams; AG2R, Team Garmin-Cervйlo, Team Katusha, Lampre-ISD, Omega Pharma-Lotto, QuickStep, Rabobank, Saxo Bank-SunGard, Team Sky, RadioShack, Team BMC Racing, Euskaltel-Euskadi, HTC-HighRoad, Liquigas-Cannondale, Leopard-Trek, Movistar, Astana, Vacansoleil-DCM

Plus the following 7 Wild Cards; Acqua e Sapone, Androni Giocattoli, Colnago-CSF Inox, Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli, Cofidis, Geox-TMC, FDJ

UCI Policy Change
The UCI’s controversial ‘UCI approved’ sticker program has now been delayed until February after a two day meeting with bike companies last week where the companies expressed their displeasure at the program. Basically the program is that if you buy a bike from now on and want to race on it, it has to have a ‘UCI approved’ sticker on it or you can’t race on it. The program does not apply to pre 2011 bikes but any bike purchased after the program is initiated that is not approved technically can’t be used in any UCI race. Why? Well apparently the UCI are concerned for our safety and they wish to test all frames to make sure that they are safe and that they abide by the UCI’s technical regulations concerning tube length, strength as well as aerodynamics of course. Understandably small manufacturers in particular are upset by this new program as they have to go to the expense of having their frames and forks tested and approved by an official UCI lab.

After the displeasure shown by suppliers and manufacturers in this meeting the UCI released the following public statement on their delaying of the implementation of the program;

A revised version of the « Approval Protocol for Frames and Forks » will be published at the beginning of February 2011. The number of approval requests expected means it is necessary to adapt several measures in the protocol. Thank you for your understanding.

Meanwhile industry website, Bikebiz.com managed to get a hold of an email from the UCI to a supplier who attended the meeting which goes into a bit more detail;

To manufacturers of frames and forks
Aigle, 20 January 2011
Modification of the approval procedure

Dear Sirs / Madams,
The meeting organised with bicycle manufacturers at the International Cycling Union headquarters on January 13th and 14th concerning the approval procedure for bike frames and forks, in which a large number of you participated, led to some very constructive discussions and we would like to thank you for this.
Given the pertinence of the questions, remarks and propositions that came up and following on from the mail we have received since, the UCI has decided to modify certain points of the procedure.
We will contact you again before the end of next week in order to inform you of a procedure that has been adjusted to take your contributions into account. As a consequence, the procedure in its current form is suspended until 1st February. From this date, a revised version will come into force.
We are confident that this process, which in no way questions the foundations and the objectives of the approval procedure, will benefit all concerned. We will endeavour to carry out the necessary modifications as quickly as possible.

Thank you for your understanding.

Best regards.

Julien CarronTechnological Coordinator

I guess we’ll have to just wait and see what happens with this one when 1st February comes around!

Albert Takes The World Cup
The road season is up and going and that means just one thing for the crossers – end of season time! Niels Albert wrapped up the final round of the World Cup yesterday in Hoogerheide with a good victory over Kevin Pauwels and Sven Nys. This finishing order was also the exact order of the final World Cup standings in what was a Belgian trifecta this year.

The win yesterday plus his overall consistency this season should give Albert plenty of confidence going into the World Championships next week in Germany.

World Cup-Hoogerheide
• 1. Niels Albert (BEL), BKCP-Powerplus, at 1:04:21
• 2. Kevin Pauwels (BEL), Telenet-Fidea, at 0:06
• 3. Sven Nys (BEL), Landbouwkrediet, at 0:32
• 4. Zdenek Stybar (CZE), Telenet-Fidea, at 0:37
• 5. Klaas Vantornout (BEL), Sunweb-Revor, at 0:38

Final World Cup standings
• 1. Niels Albert (BEL) BKCP-Powerplus, 570 points
• 2. Kevin Pauwels (BEL) Telenet-Fidea, 499 points
• 3. Sven Nys (BEL) Landbouwkrediet, 484 points
• 4. Bart Aernouts (BEL) Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team, 392 points
• 5. Francis Mourey (FRA) Fdj, 369 points

The Ups And Downs Of Movistar
After a brilliant win by Francisco Ventoso in the queen stage of the Tour Down Under and Xavier Tondo on top in the GC in the Tour de San Luis things were looking good for the new Spanish team Movistar. Fortunes can change quickly in this game though with the team crashing back to earth the very next day – literally! Unfortunately for Xavier Tondo he hit the deck whilst leading in the 2nd last stage with just 15kms to go. He had cleared all the tough mountains of the day and seemingly conquered his GC rivals but then he bonked badly, lost control on a descent and then lost 15minutes in the ensuing disaster to eventually finish 23rd overall.

Certainly a terrible turn of events for Tondo and his Movistar team and I can’t help but think back to Ventoso’s press conference after his great win in Willunga when he stated,

“We have a new sponsor this year and to win is really important. We can be calm for the rest of the year, now we have won a race.”

Calm for the rest of the year after winning just one race in January? Sure it was a good win Francisco but I think the boss will be wanting more from you and the team this year than just that!

Tour de San Luis
After Tondo’s spectacular crash and bonking effort on the 2nd last stage in San Luis, Marco Arriagada (Chile) inherited the race lead and he had no problems in securing the overall title after finishing safely in the bunch in Sunday’s seventh and final stage. The stage itself was a relatively predictable affair which finished in a bunch sprint won by Hйctor Aguilar (Funvic) ahead of his teammate Marco Crespo and Mauro Richeze (Argentina).

In the GC standings names of note include 2nd place Josй Serpa in his return to Androni Giocattoli, new Liquigas signing Eros Capecchi who rode to a solid 4th, Rory Sutherland (United Healthcare) in 22nd and Ivan Basso in 47th.

Final General Classification:
1. Marco Arriagada (Chile)
2. Josй Serpa (Androni Giocattoli) +0’38″
3. Josuй Moyano (Argentina) +1’49″
4. Eros Capecchi (Liquigas) +1’50″
5. Miguel Angel Rubiano (D’Angelo & Antenucci) +2’42″
6. Jorge Giacinti (Argentina) +4’36″
7. Gerardo Fernandez (Argentina) +4’56″
8. Antonio Piedra (Andalucia) +5’24″
9. Camilo Gomez (Columbia) +5’38″
10. Luis Mansilla (Chile) +5’50″

Tour de Langkawi
Farnese Vini’s Andrea Guardini kicked off his professional career in the best possible way yesterday in the Tour de Langkawi by winning in a tightly contested bunch sprint. With the win the young 21 year old also inherited the leader’s jersey although as a track specialist he’s not expecting to hold the jersey a long time as the hills approach.

United Healthcare’s Hilton Clarke was good enough for 7th in the bunch sprint as his team take on a double program with half his team just wrapping things up in the Tour de San Luis whilst the other half are in Malaysia enjoying the warm conditions.

Stage 1 Results:
1. Andrea Guardini (Farnese Vini)
2. Sungbaek Park (South Korea) s.t.
3. Mohd Hariff Salleh (Terengganu ProAsia) s.t.
4. Luca Barla (Androni Giocattoli) s.t.
5. Kenny van Hummel (Skil-Shimano) s.t.
6. Andrй Schulze (CCC Polsat) s.t.
7. Hilton Clarke (UnitedHealthcare) s.t.
8. Arran Brown (MTN Qhubeka) s.t.
9. Davy Commeyne (Landbouwkrediet) s.t.
10. Joeri Stallaert (Landbouwkrediet) s.t.

Tragic Accident
Our hearts go out this week to friends and family of HTC rider Carla Swart after she died following a training accident last Wednesday. The accident occurred whilst Carla was doing time-trial training in her native South Africa when she was tragically struck by a truck.

Needless to say our hearts and thoughts are with Carla’s family and friends in this tough time as they grieve the passing of their ‘Ginger Ninja’ as she was known.

Her team released the following statement on the sad affair shortly after the news became public;

Carla, in such a short time you became part of our family and touched us all with your vibrant personality and your constant smile. You infected us with your zest for life and we will forever have you in our hearts.
Our wishes go out to Carla’s family and loved ones.

Since that statement Carla’s team, HTC-Highroad have also created a fund and web site ‘Carla’s Circle’ to help Carla’s family in their time of need and to help them continue Carla’s interests as outlined in the following open letter;

Dear friends of Highroad,

This week we lost a member of our team, Carla Swart. She was new to HTC-Highroad, but her zest for life and engaging nature captured our hearts immediately. She loved cycling and competition, and had a promising future.

Carla was also a loving daughter and sister. She spoke fondly about her parents who were her constant inspiration. Carla’s father Deon was brave enough to start a new life in an unfamiliar country and came to the USA in 2003 so that his family would have greater opportunities. She admired her mother for her constant support and dedication to her family while at the same time fighting serious illness. Karen Swart was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 20 years ago. Carla’s ambitions included personally raising money to help fight this painful and debilitating disease.

Carla’s Circle is a fund that we have created to help Carla’s family and to help them continue Carla’s interests. Direct deposits can be made on the Carla’s Circle page on the team website
with 100% of all proceeds going to the Swart family. Please visit this page and learn more about this remarkable young woman, and contribute if you like.

In memory of Carla
From all the members of High Road Sports and HTC-Highroad

Tour Of Utah Presentation
The 2011 Tour of Utah was presented last Thursday with some big changes in store for the race as it steps up to a full UCI stage race and with it a big increase in prizemoney from $45,000 to $150,000. Will last year’s winner Levi Leipheimer be back to defend his hard fought title? With teams and stage routes not yet announced we will have to wait and see for that one. In the meantime here’s the press release from the race’s presentation;

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (January 20, 2011)– Entering its seventh year in 2011, the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah cycling race has been elevated by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) to one of the top three professional stage races for road cycling in North America. Organizers will invite 15 domestic and international professional cycling teams to participate and increase prize money from $45,000 to $150,000, as part of the UCI sanctioning rules. The six-day event, known as “America’s Toughest Stage Race”, will be held August 9-14, 2011, featuring a prologue and five stages for an estimated 400 miles of racing across traditionally diverse and mountainous terrain.

Steve Miller, president of the Utah Cycling Partnership which owns the Tour of Utah, announced that the event has hired Medalist Sports to manage race operations and logistics for the 2011 race. Medalist Sports will oversee the competition and technical production of the Tour, as well as the development of the local organizing committees in each start and finish venue. Medalist Sports specializes in the production of professional cycling events and mass-participation, fundraising events around the country. The company also is the event management arm for the Amgen Tour of California (May 15-22), USA Cycling Professional Championships (May 28-30) and the Quiznos Pro Challenge (Aug 22-28).

For 2011, the Tour of Utah will be part of the UCI AmericaTour, covering professional cycling events on both the continents of North America and South America. The UCI America Tour includes 34 sanctioned events for professionals in 2011. Tour of Utah and the Quiznos Pro Challenge are the only 2.1-class events in North America. The 2.HC (hors categorie) Amgen Tour of California received the highest rating of the America Tour road calendar.

“It’s really quite an honor to be able to organize and host a race of this caliber and level. This is really big for Utah. Professional cycling provides a unique setting from which we can showcase our beautiful State. It’s great for spectators. It’s great for athletes and it’s particularly great for tourism,” said Miller, who first became involved with the event in 2005 as a sponsor. “We’re very grateful to the fans and sponsors, without whom, this race simply would not be possible. Whereas in years past we’ve been able to attract a handful of the world’s best racers, this year the entire field will be the who’s who of professional cyclists.”

The Tour began in 2004 as a three-day race and was upgraded to a National Racing Calendar event by USA Cycling in 2008. The Tour of Utah is now sanctioned by both USA Cycling, Inc. and the UCI, the international governing body for the sport of cycling.

“Thanks to the support and dedication of the Miller family, local sponsors and staff, The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah has very quickly grown into one of America’s top stage races,” said USA Cycling CEO Steve Johnson. “Now, with its placement on the UCI calendar as a category 2.1 stage race, the Tour of Utah will join the ranks of the world’s top cycling events and feature an international field with some of the best professional teams in cycling.”

One of the distinguishing elements in the elevated status of the 2011 Tour of Utah is that organizers are not allowed to include amateur teams and athletes, but are permitted to invite teams and athletes from the sport’s highest level, UCI World Tour, including UCI ProTeams, UCI Professional Continental and domestic Continental Teams. Amateur teams and athletes can only take part in NRC events and lower- rated UCI events, where they are eligible for domestic racing points.

A total of 15 professional teams will be invited to race the Tour of Utah, with organizers extending initial invitations to select UCI ProTeams later this month. Each team is expected to field a team of eight riders, for a total of 120 of some of the world’s best competing across the mountains, buttes and plateaus of Utah, vying for UCI points, award jerseys and cash prizes totaling $150,000. Last year’s race was won by Levi Leipheimer, a member of Team RadioShack (a UCI ProTeam) but racing as an individual with Mellow Johnny’s.

Announcements about confirmed teams and the host venues for each start and finish line will be made in February. The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah continues to be free to all spectators, making professional cycling one of the most unique pro sports in the world today. Official information will be posted at www.tourofutah.com, and race fans are encouraged to follow updates on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Sabbath Bicycles Join Forces With Tour Of Pembrokeshire Sportive
British bike brand Sabbath Bicycles will sponsor the popular Tour of Pembrokeshire sportive in its 2011 edition, held on the 12th June.

Sabbath Bicycles’ popular titanium bicycle and component range has quickly gained respect in the market, and now the UK brand formed in 2006, are joining forces with one of the country’s leading sportive events.

The Tour of Pembrokeshire allows participants to ride 62, 83 or 117 miles of beautiful sea and mountain scenery. Last year’s event attracted over 600 participants, with the event taking on some tough climbs, as well as circling the wonderful West Wales coastline, riders will experience both pain and pleasure in the summer and many will make it a family break.

Greg Roche, MD of Sabbath Bicycles said: “Supporting events and grassroots teams that bring so many people together cycling is something that we’ve done every year since we set up the business. We weren’t going to give up the opportunity to take on the stunning countryside as well as helping with the general experience of the day.”

Sabbath will display their fleet of demo bikes for riders to try out both before and during the Tour of Pembrokeshire, as well as offering event support throughout the weekend to make it as pleasurable as possible for entrants. There’ll also be much needed coffee supplied by Sabbath’s brewing team for those needing to perk up with an early start.

Sabbath Bicycles have a range of titanium steeds suitable for sportives, with the Silk Road, Silk Road Pro, Silk Road Alp and September models all being popular with the UK sportive scene. The Sabbath team will be on hand during the event to give their advice, and a number of staff and customers will be riding the event itself.

Peter Walker of the Pembrokeshire Bike Shop, organisers of the Tour of Pembrokeshire said: “We want to offer the best experience to all of our riders and our partnership with Sabbath Bicycles is certainly going to help us do that. I’m sure our participants will also love the chance to take one of the Sabbaths for a spin too.”

Entries for the Tour of Pembrokeshire
opened on 3rd December 2010.

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