What's Cool In Road Cycling

EuroTrash Thursday!

So now the 2012 Tour de France route is official, the video of the presentation is here and some thoughts on the race from some of the stars. If you missed the Giro d’Italia presentation we have that too. Still more transfers and a very funny interview with the Schleck brothers. Just another EuroTrash Thursday!

Tour de France 2012 Presentation
OK, so we knew what the Tour course was going to be last week when “someone” leaked the stages early, but it was still good to hear it from the “horse’s mouth” so to speak. If you missed the presentation you can see it below:

Reactions to the Tour Route:

Alberto Contador: “With so much ITT, it reminds me of the 2007 Tour”
Alberto Contador had this to say about the route; “that it clearly favors time trialists. I’m in the middle, because it is true that there are other climbers who are worse than me in the time trial”. He added, “It is a route I’ll have to look very carefully at every stage and see how the opponents move, especially those who need to make differences before the last time trial. These riders can be compatible with my interests”.

Alberto said: “I don’t like this Tour, but neither do I dislike it. For me it misses another uphill finish to allow more attacks, but it is clear that the last week will be decisive, with a tough stage that finishes in Bagneres de Luchon and then the summit finish in Peyragudes, after climbing the Col de Bales”.

What about the 96 kilometres of individual time trial? “There are many kilometers, but at least it’s better for me than if there was a team time trial, which could hurt me more in front of very powerful teams. Among the Tours that I have ridden, perhaps it reminds me of the first one that I won in 2007, which had about 120 kilometres against the clock. Then it was fine for me, but you never know”.

And Thoughts from the Quick-Step Team
“It’s a very beautiful route,” explained Jerome Pineau, who attended the presentation. “There are lots of new climbs or in any case routes and territories that the Tour doesn’t usually cover. As far as the battle for the yellow jersey I think that the time trials will be very important and will determine the race. At the last time trial before Paris there will still be some surprises. On a personal level I’m happy. There are a few mid-mountain stages that are suited to my skills as an attacker. It will be a very nice, open Tour.”

The other Frenchman on Quick-Step Cycling Team, Sylvain Chavanel, is of the same opinion. “Nice Tour and excellent route,” said Sylvain to attending journalists. “There are stages that are just right for stage hunters like myself, right from the very first days of the race. There are also only 2 high altitude arrivals in the mountain stages. This should favour the attackers. The route is demanding, it will be important to show up in top form from the very start. In the battle for the yellow jersey my favourites are Contador and Evans, both great performers on climbs and in time trial stages. Perhaps Evans has that little something extra in the time trials while Contador could blow up the Tour on the climbs. It will also be a great race for the fans.”

“It’s a difficult Tour,” said Team Manager Patrick Lefevere. “With 96 kilometres of time trials it’s definitely a Tour for riders who are strong in this specialty, especially Evans and Contador. The mountain and mid-mountain stages will be important as well, since they also provide the ground for important attacks. With riders like Martin, Leipheimer and Velits we’ll have everything we need to figure as major players in the race, and of course we’ll have athletes of Chavanel’s calibre who can come up with some major actions in the course of each individual stage.”

Mark Cavendish Voiced his Opinion:
The World Champ and 2011 Tour Green Jersey winner had this to say: “I think there’s something for everyone next year. I think you’ll see a lot of different stage winners, but hopefully not on the sprint days!” What about the route? “It’s a very diverse route. There are seven sprint days, as normal. 92 time trial kilometres which is good for the time trialists and a good mix of small and high mountains.” What about the Olympic road race so soon after the Tour? “I have to finish the Tour de France if I want to win on the Champs-Йlysйes. Then it’s five days to the Olympics. It is how it is, so I’ll try and do my best for four weeks.” Yellow and Green for Sky in 2012? “It’s a challenge for a lot of teams and teams have done it in the past, we’ve got the horsepower to do it, so we’re going to try and get green and yellow.”

2011 Tour de France
Just incase you forgot what this years Tour was like:

Giro d’Italia 2012 Presentation
PEZ man & wife combo; Ashley and Jered Gruber were in Milan to cover the presentation, you can see their great report and photos here.

Here is Sunday’s Giro presentation on Italian TV station RAI Sport 2:

Last Year’s Winner, Alberto Contador:
After the Giro d’Italia presentation, Contador confirmed he would not be riding next year: “If I should let my heart decide, I’d go to Herning in May next year to take on the Giro, but I have other objectives next summer.” He told the Saxo Bank team web-site “I think the route is less extreme than this year, but the stage finishes might cause problems for some riders. The final week of the race will be very tough in the mountains.”

Cunego has his say:
Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD) is not sure if he will ride next year’s Giro d’Italia, he commented: “I’d prefer to do the Classics, but you could also ride the Giro and Tour in one year, although once the Tour is over, you’re obviously very tired and you have to end your season well before the others.” He has been working on his climbing skills and has lost weight since working with the Mapie centre. About the stages; “I definitely prefer the real mountain stages, and not those stages that are neither one thing nor the other. They’re not easy, but they’re not hard enough either.” So will he ride the 2012 Giro? “It’s not a decision to be rushed into.”

2011 Giro d’Italia
All the best bits of laste year’s race:

Stay PEZ for more in-depth chat on the Tour and Giro.

Cobo Stays With Geox
The 2011 Vuelta a Espaсa winner; Juan Josй Cobo will be staying with the Geox-TMC team that backed him to victory. He has rejected offers from other teams to stay with Geox whose management has kept confidence in him when it looked like he was going to give up cycling. He has stated that the Tour de France would be his aim for 2012, but, just like last year, that is not guaranteed to happen as the Geox team is not and will not be a WorldTour team next year.

Lund back to Saxo Bank
After a year with Leopard-Trek, Anders Lund is going back to Bjarne Riis’s Saxo Bank-Sungard team for 2012. “Anders was one of the riders we were sad to let go last year, so of course we are delighted he is now returning. He is still pretty young, but despite that, he has gained solid experience as a pro bike rider already.” Bjarne Riis told the Saxo Bank web-site. “He is a great all rounder and a rider, who can compete and play a vital part of a team in almost any race from the cobblestone classics and the Ardennes classics to Grand Tours. We look forward to continue his development.”

New Boys for Katusha
Бngel Vicioso from Androni, Xavier Florencio from Geox-TMC, Maxim Belkov from Vacansoleil-DCM and Alexander Kristoff from the BMC team have all signed contract with the Russian team for next year. It is also rumoured that Oscar Freire may find a new home with the Russians, but nothing has been confirmed. Erik Zabel will also work with the Katusha Project helping with the team’s sprinters, much like he has been doing at HTC-Highroad.

Team UK Youth Announce 2012 Plans and Riders
Press Release: Team UK Youth have announced their plans and ambitions for the 2012 season, stemming from the team’s decision to register as a UCI Continental team.

In 2012, the team will ride bespoke bikes from WyndyMilla and take on an increased programme in the UK, Europe and the rest of the world; spreading the message of charity UK Youth further afield.

The team will still be supported and sponsored by Formula 1 World Champion Nigel Mansell OBE and headed up by Paris-Roubaix winner and Tour de France rider Magnus Backstedt.

“I’m absolutely delighted with how 2011 went for the team and are really excited that we can build upon our first year experiences on a larger scale,” said Formula 1 legend, Nigel Mansell OBE, who is also the President of UK Youth.

He continued: “I thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere with the team this year and it has been a great vehicle for relaying the message of UK Youth as a charity. 2012 is shaping up to be a fantastic year and I am very much looking forward to it’.”

Building on the success of the 2011 season, many of the team’s riders will stay for the following season. The ethos being to develop and nurture talent at a high level with the help of experienced rider Magnus Backstedt.

New additions for the team will be Yanto Barker, Chris Opie, Richard Tanguy and Swedish rider Christofer Stevenson. Stevenson is a consistent top 5 finisher in UCI 1.1 and 1.2 races.

“We’ve got some handy new additions to the team and have added some experience with Yanto Barker’s inclusion,” explained Magnus Backstedt.

He continued: “With our decision to register as UCI Continental, we’ll be taking on good races in Europe and further afield. This is so we can be as competitive as possible in Premier Calendar events and the Tour Series in the UK.”

In keeping with the British feel of the team, the bikes of choice will be WyndyMilla’s Massive Attack in custom white and Union Jack decals. Each bike will be custom fitted as part of WyndyMilla’s bespoke cycling approach, creating Rare British Custom for the team. Riders will be fitted at WyndyMilla’s store in Seale, Surrey.

Founded in 1911, UK Youth is a leading national youth work charity supporting over 750,000 young people, helping them to raise their aspirations, realise their potential and have their achievements recognised via non-formal, accredited education programmes and activities.

Team UK Youth 2012:
Magnus Backstedt,
Yanto Barker,
Niklas Gustavsson,
Chris Opie,
Freddy Johansson,
James Stewart,
David McGowan,
Richard Tanguy,
Greg Mansell,
Gruff Lewis,
James Lowsley-Williams,
Christofer Stevenson.

The Schlecks Interviewed by Ushi
You might have missed this bit of film on Dutch TV station RTL4 of the Schleck Brothers being interviewed by the bogus Japanese TV presenter; Ushi. Have a look, very funny!

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