What's Cool In Road Cycling

EuroTrash Thursday!

After my EuroTrash Monday rant about drug dealers, today I go for a nice story of an old Champion. Bad news for Niels Albert, but lots of good news from Gent-Wevelgem, Endura, Menchov, Lotto, (maybe) Geox and a happy birthday. Nearly every story has a video attached today, so hide your screen from the boss and put yer feet up!

“Top Story”
I really like this story, the thought that a champion like Franco Bitossi would donate his last “Maglia Rosa” to the Ghisallo Museum. He was a great rider, a great champion and is obviously altruistic. A true Champion!

The Crazy Pink Heart to the Ghisallo!
Franco Bitossi; the opponent of Adorni, Gimondi and “The Cannibal” Eddy Merckx donates his “Maglia Rosa” to the Museum of Ghisallo

Press Release: After the Pink Jersey of Francesco Moser was received at the Tour of Lombardy, one of the five “Maglie Rosa” that Franco Bitossi won in the 1970 Giro d’Italia (won then from Eddy Merckx) was next to be presented to the Museum of Ghisallo. At the time the thirty-year-old Bitossi had already won stages in the Giro and the Tour (in 1968 he was the first Italian to wear the green jersey in Paris), Lombardy (1967), Tour of Switzerland (1965), besides a series of places in races like; San Remo, Tour of Flanders and Lombardy.

“Well, that year I did not start the Giro in good form”, remembers Bitossi in the house of Empoli, beside trophies and memorabilia of two wheels, “however I won the first stage at the finish in Biandrono. The Maglia Rosa gave me wings and for two successive days I came second (behind Merckx) and then I won again. I won another three, and lost one, I was limited to only win two more stages. Not bad!”

“I did not realize the meaning of having the “Maglia Rosa” however my thoughts at the time were of Coppi & Bartali. Well, those are the references when you put on that symbol of supremacy. I am sincerely pleased to give the jersey, although it is the last that I have, because with time a lot I remember has vanished: I think they are more interesting to the young, even though they are accustomed to a different bike than the one I rode!”

Remember that whoever participates in the Giro for Ghisallo “Maglia Rosa” donation: grand ex-champions or just simply passionate fans. The sole condition is to possess a “Maglia Rosa” won by a rider in the Giro d’Italia from 1931 to today. For every “Maglia Rosa” received, the Giro d’Italy will give a donation of 500 Euros to the Museum of Ghisallo.

Here is the list of the 21 donors of Pink Jersey’s up to November 2011: Ivan Basso, Paolo Bettini, Andrea Noи, Fiorenzo Magni, Giorgio Cimurri, Pietro Illarietti, Piergiovanni Sciascia, Stefano Diciatteo, Pierangelo Meroni, Renzo Zanazzi, Renato Di Rocco, Paolo Savoldelli, Alfredo Martini, Aldo Colombo, Pasquale Golia, Moreno Argentin, Luca Fornara, Giovanni Visconti, Renzo Bordogna, Francesco Moser and Franco Bitossi.

This is Bitossi out-sprinting Felice Gimondi for the 1970 Italian National Championships.

Niels Albert in Accident
Belgian cyclo-cross champion; Niels Albert was hit by a car when out training on Tuesday, according to his BKCP-Powerplus team Albert tried to avoid a car but collided with the mirror. After the crash it was discovered that he has a fractured trapezium bone in his hand and will have to wear a plaster for at least two weeks and it unsure when he can train and race again. He told Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad: “Through an evasive manoeuvre, I bumped against the mirror, I fell and immediately it was clear that something was wrong. My left wrist was very painful and I could hardly move it.” Team manager Christoph Roodhooft said that he has no idea how long it will take and is worried that it could be up to four weeks before Albert can race. He is leading the Superprestige Trophy at the moment, but is unlikely to be able to defend it in the next rounds. There is some good news as it will now better for Albert to concentrate on the Belgian and World championships in January.

Here is a documentary of Niels Albert, the 2009 Cyclo-cross World Champion.

All Change at Gent –Wevelgem
The 2012 edition of the Gent-Wevelgem, to be held on the 25th of March, will be longer by 30 kilometres and will take in the climb of the Casselberg twice. The Casselberg is well known from the Four Days of Dunkirk where the cobbled climb always plays a part in the race. On the same day there will also be a woman’s race which is hoped to become a classic.

This is the 1991 edition of Gent-Wevelgem:

Adecco Back with Lotto!
The employment agency, Adecco are to rejoin the Lotto team as a co-sponsor, they were partners in the team from 2000 to 2002 when top men in the team were Andre Tchmil, Rik Verbrugge, Robbie McEwen and the specialist in the spring; Peter Van Petegem. Adecco join Belisol (window manufacturer) on the list of sponsors, at the moment it seems the team will be called Lotto-Belisol, but nothing has been confirmed as yet.

This is Tchmil in Paris-Roubaix in 1997, that year the unknown Frederic Guesdon won.

Menchov to Katusha?
According to Moscow News Denis Menchov has signed a deal for 2012 with the Katusha team and the announcement is imminent. The Spanish based Russian lives in Pamplona and brings Giro and Vuelta wins to the Russian project. “Not everything depends on me. Personally, I’m almost ready to sign. We have discussed the fundamental aspects of the contract. Now everything depends on the decision of the management team,” he told the newspaper.

Could the Geox team be Saved?
Management of the soon to be ex-Geox team have gone to Venezuela to discuss a sponsorship deal with the countries tourist board, this move would probably include the signing of some Venezuelan riders. This is not the first time that the team set-up has received help from a South American source as the Vuelta a Chihuahua did appear on the jersey when the team was Saunier Duval-Scott in 2008. Vuelta winner; Juan Jose Cobo and Denis Menchov have still not announced which team they may be riding for next year, so the team could still have some top riders. According to the team’s General Manager; Mauro Gianetti in Bicicilismo is that the deal depends on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as the deal is to include the “entire country”.

The Tour de France 2007, Juan Josй Cobo and many others climb the Port de Balйs from Maulйon-Barousse, the Col de Peyresourde from Bourg d’Oeuil and descent to Loudenvielle in stage 15. Featuring; Alberto Contador, Michael Rasmussen, Cadel Evans, Juan Josй Cobo, Alexandre Vinokourov, Kim Kirchen, Haimar Zubeldia, Juan Manuel Garate, David Arroyo, Christian Vande Velde.

And Venezuela looks nice.

No SunGard at Saxo Bank
After starting to sponsor the Danish team in 2010, SunGard have decided to leave professional cycling. Saxo Bank will become the solo named sponsor of the team from next year. They originally agreed to become a named sponsor for 2011 and 2012, but have decided that in the present financial times they would stop sponsoring the team a year early.

No Valverde Presentation!
As reported in EuroTrash Monday; the Movistar team were supposed to have presented Alejandro Valverde and the new team jersey for next year at the Movistar showroom in Madrid on Tuesday, well, they didn’t! The UCI enforced the ruling that Valverde could not appear due to his ban running until the end of the year. The event has been postponed to a later date.

Alejandro Valverde won Liege-Bastonge-Liege in 2006 and here it is:

Russell Downing joins Endura Racing for 2012
Press Release: Endura Racing are delighted to announce that Russell Downing, one of the UK’s leading road racers of the recent years, has signed for the team for 2012. The former British road race champion joins us from Team Sky where he picked up a stage victory at the Criterium International and a stage and overall win at the Tour de Wallonie. Much of Russell’s 2011 season was spent in support of his team leaders and he put in a gutsy performance at the Giro d’Italia in May where he rode with several broken ribs to finish his first Grand Tour.

On top of the signings already announced, the signing of Downing brings a wealth of racing experience into the refreshed squad and we go into 2012 with a team that can once again punch above its weight in races all over the world.

Russell Downing:
“I’m really excited about joing Endura Racing for 2012 after a couple of great years with Sky. I’ve been speaking to Brian Smith [Endura Racing’s General Manager] for several months now about the team and it’s great to finally put pen to paper.

“Endura Racing have an impressive looking race schedule for 2012 and I’m looking to get back to winning ways, to help build on the what the team achieved in 2011.I’ve enjoyed riding at UCI World Tour level and have gained a lot of experience at some of the biggest races in cycling. I’m looking forward to pass that experience on to the younger riders on the squad.”

Jim McFarlane, Endura Racing owner:
“Russ is an iconic British rider with immense talent and a strong following on the domestic scene; it will be great to see him ride and win again in the UK whilst still representing the team in many of the continental stage races that Endura Racing has on its schedule for 2012.

“His individual talent obviously adds even more strength to the team for next year but we’re also looking forward to having his input in nurturing and developing young talent in the team so they can benefit from his experience.”

Brian Smith, Endura Racing General Manager:
“I would have loved to see Russ stay at World Tour level as he deserves but I think Endura Racing is the perfect team for him.

“Russ is a winner and i am hoping he can lead the team by example by winning in Europe. We want to keep building on our performance levels and to have someone with the experience and respect of Russ I’m more than confident 2012 with be a hugely successful year for Endura Racing. The path from a Scottish club team to a UCI Professional Continental team is looking more likely now.”

Endura Racing 2012 rider line-up:
Alexander Wetterhall (Sweden),
Alexandre Blain (France),
Dean Windsor (Australia),
Erick Rowsell (UK),
Ian Bibby (UK),
Ian Wikinson (UK),
Iker Camano (Spain),
Jack Anderson (Australia),
Jonny McEvoy (UK),
Jon Tiernan-Locke (UK),
Paul Voss (Germany),
Rene Mandri (Estonia),
Rob Partridge (UK),
Russell Downing (UK),
Scott Thwaites (UK),
Zak Dempster (Australia).

Team Associate:
Oli Beckingsale (UK) – MTB.

Here is Russel ‘Fonzie’ Downing talking about stage 19 of the Giro d’Italia – he falls 20 metres down a ravine, climbs back up and cycles the last 28km of the race. Chapeau!

New Japanese Team
A new UCI Continental Japanese team will be in the peloton next year. Cannondale Space Zero Point will be based on developing young Japanese riders for the future, team manager Shigehiko Satoh said; “over time, we would like to develop world-class young riders but in the near future, we want to produce leading Japanese riders.”

Ride with Roche
If you want to go for a ride with Ag2r pro Nicolas Roche and can be in Sheffield, England this weekend then your wish can come true. Roche is in Sheffield signing copies of his book: inside the Peloton over the weekend of 19th and 20 of November and will lead a 100 kilometre ride from the Planet X showrooms around the South Yorkshire hills.

This is Nico winning the third stage of the Tour of Beijing:

Happy Birthday Badger!
On Monday 14th of November Bernard Hinault was 57 years old. The French champion has won just about every race on the calendar, not as much as “The Cannibal” Eddy Merckx, but you could say he was the second best rider of all time! Had it not been for a dodgy knee, Greg Lemond and Laurent Fignon he probably would have won more than the 5 Tour’s de France that he did win. Hinault was not always a friendly guy, well known for his attacking style, not only on the bike! His relationship with the press has also been up and down as he is well known not to suffer fools. If you think about it you don’t get far in sport by being a nice guy…all the time!

Vuelta a Espaсa 1983, stage 17, Salamanca to Avila and Bernard Hinault shows how it’s done!

And here he is making a big attack!

Hoogerland Looses to a Horse!
Vacansoliel rider Johnny Hoogerland raced against a trotting horse called “Unforgettable” in Wolvega’s Victoria Park Hippodrome in Holland. The horse won by a nose! It didn’t matter because the event was to raise money for a children’s cancer charity. The competition was over three rounds with Johnny taking the first, Unforgettable the second and a photo finish in the third, where the horse took the last lunge to the line.

Wish I had some money on the horse!

UmbrellaGirls USA Unveils 10th Anniversary Calendar
Press Release: The 10th anniversary edition of the UmbrellaGirls USA calendar features more beauty, more images and showcases more of the lovely ladies who comprise the premier professional cycling and motor sports modeling agency in the United States.

The 13-month, glossy calendar features more than two dozen photos, attractively presenting each model in tropical bikini attire, and is available on the UmbrellaGirls USA website, www.Umbrellagirlsusa.com. It retails for $19.95.

“This amazing collectible salutes the professionalism and dedication of some of our rising stars, as well as some of the girls we have worked with for several years,” UmbrellaGirls USA founder Ann Asiano said. “It’s a showcase of exquisite photographs showing off their natural beauty within the confines of elegance and class.”

Asiano said there is definitely a science to selecting the perfect calendar girls to represent the company in the upcoming year at events internationally. But she refuses to divulge her secrets. “Let’s just say that it is more art than science, and we totally nailed it this year,” Asiano said. “Not only with our girls, but the whole production team, I am very pleased with the calendar.”

UmbrellaGirls USA provides beautiful and stunning models around the United States for events ranging from professional cycling races like the Amgen Tour of California and the USA CRITS series to motor sports races, conventions, trade shows, awards banquets, charity functions and podium presentations.

“We coined the phrase ‘Toyota Girls’ with the Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team and it’s grown into providing classy call-ups at criteriums and making podium appearances at races across the country,” Asiano said.

The calendar features the work of award-winning photographer James Creighton, whose photographs have appeared in MAXIM, FHM, and PLAYBOY. Models from January 2012 to January 2013 include a mix of UmbrellaGirls such as actress/singer/hosts Raquel Houghton (Los Angeles), Joanna Zanella (Los Angeles) and Vivian Kindle (Los Angeles), as well as original cover girl Roxanne Siordia (Las Vegas) and rising stars Mariah Longo (Santa Rosa, Calif.), Mayra Tinajero (San Diego) and Brooklyn Winn (Palm Desert, Calif.)

“We aimed to showcase a good mix between familiar faces in the motor sports industry and new and upcoming UmbrellaGirls,” Asiano said. “This calendar epitomizes what we stand for – beauty and grace – and it salutes their professionalism and dedication to UmbrellaGirls and the motor sports industry.”

A large portion of the calendar was shot in Cabo San Lucas with the help of one of UmbrellaGirls USA’s long-time benefactors. “There was no question we wanted to shoot this in Cabo like the 2005 calendar, but logistics were a problem until Fred Faltersack and his business partner, Wayne Friedling, generously offered the use of two villas to accommodate our models and staff,” Asiano said. “Not only was the shoot a great time, but we enjoyed the nightlife of Cabo with our entourage of hot calendar models.”

UmbrellaGirlsUSA models will be signing calendars at various events in which they appear. Calendars will also be distributed in various motor sports dealerships and given away at select motor sports events.

A number of UmbrellaGirls USA sponsors were instrumental in the making of the calendar, including: Kumho Tires USA (www.Kumhotireusa.com), Cortech Motorcycle Gear (www.tourmaster.com), Helmet House (www.helmethouse.com) and KYMCO scooters (www.Kymcousa.com). Other strong supporters of UmbrellaGirls USA are Harley-Davidson, Monster Energy Drink, Triumph Motorcycles, Brammo Electric Motorcycles (www.Brammo.com), Andretti Autosport, Toyota Motor Company (via Brand Promotions), Nissan Motor Company and Continental Tires (via Next Marketing). UmbrellaGirls USA models regularly appear at a number of motorcycle races series including: Supercross, AMA Pro SBK, Flatrack, Supermoto and MX Outdoor, as well as auto racing series such as Grand Am Rolex, NHRA, NASCAR, IRL, TORC and Lucas Oil Off Road Race series.

The special edition calendar will be publicly unveiled at a private release party Saturday, Dec. 3, in Los Angeles.

The ONCE team were one of the strongest in the peloton in the ‘90’s and up to the teams disbandment at the end of 2003. As the word “once” is the number 11 in Spanish as well as the name of the blind charity, many of the team members met up for a reunion on 11/11/11. Here are is a photo montage of the team by Josй Miguel Llano on Vimeo.

Or go to the link here on Vimeo, as I can never get Vimeo to work!

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