VeloNews.com » News http://velonews.competitor.com Competitive Cycling News, Race Results and Bike Reviews Sat, 20 Dec 2014 23:45:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Nys, on poor condition: ‘I don’t know what’s wrong’ http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/nys-poor-condition-dont-know-whats-wrong_356564 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/nys-poor-condition-dont-know-whats-wrong_356564#comments Sat, 20 Dec 2014 16:54:38 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=356564

Sven Nys' (Crelan-AA Drink) string of bad form and bad luck has left the Belgian champion and his team searching for answers. Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com

After a poor performance at the Essen Bpost Bank Trofee, Sven Nys said he doesn't know what is wrong with his condition, which has slipped

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Sven Nys' (Crelan-AA Drink) string of bad form and bad luck has left the Belgian champion and his team searching for answers. Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com

After a disappointing performance Saturday at the Essen stop of the Bpost Bank Trofee series, Belgian national champion Sven Nys (Crelan AA Drink) said he doesn’t know what is wrong with his condition, which has slipped dramatically over the past six weeks.

Nya finished 13th on Saturday, almost three minutes behind winner Wout van Aert (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace), losing his lead in the BPost Bank Trofee series classification.

“The series classiciation, I can forget it,” Nys told Sporza. “I do not know what’s wrong. For me this is a big question mark.”

Nys announced, via Twitter, that he would not race at Sunday’s Namur World Cup event.

The Essen race was a return to competition for the 38-year-old Nys, who took two weeks off, after finishing fourth at the December 6 Bpost Bank event in Hasselt, instead heading to Spain for a training camp in Mallorca.

Nys started the season out well, with wins at CrossVegas, Soudal GP Neerpelt, and the Bpost Bank Trofee in Ronse — all in September and early October.

His last win came on November 11, at Soudal Jaarmarktcross Niel. He twice finished eighth in November, including at the World Cup event at Milton Keynes in Great Britain.

Prior to the start of the Essen race, the 2013 world champion said he felt back to his former self, however he fell off the pace early, and was never a factor.

“Despite two weeks away, it’s just not right,” Nys said. “At the moment I am riding at 50 percent of my potential. I can ride an hour at tempo, but as soon as I want to accelerate, I feel that I don’t  have the strength. I just do not ride at my level.

“I have to draw conclusions, and my ambition is scaling back. I have to draw a line through this [series classification] ranking. It’s over. I do not know what to do now. Rest? I do not know.”

Nys told Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws that he would likely skip all of the upcoming Christmas-week races, including the New Year’s Day race in his hometown of Baal, named after him, focusing instead on the Belgian national championships, held January 11 in Erpe-Mere, and the world championships, held in Tabor, Czech Republic, on February 1.

“I think it is better for a while to switch completely and change my frame of mind. Namur is tomorrow, which I certainly will not do, and Heusden-Zolder will come too soon after. I can better focus on the championships early next year, the Belgian championships and the world championships in Tabor early February. Whether I start in my own ’cross race, in Baal, on New Year’s Day, I will decide later.”

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Van Aert solos to victory in muddy Essen race http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/race-report/van-aert-solos-victory-muddy-essen-race_356557 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/race-report/van-aert-solos-victory-muddy-essen-race_356557#comments Sat, 20 Dec 2014 15:30:26 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=356557 The 20-year-old phenom soloed to victory at a muddy edition of the race in Essen, Belgium, the fifth round of the 2014-15 Bpost Bank Trofee

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Twenty-year-old phenom Wout Van Aert (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace) soloed to victory at a muddy edition of the Grand Prix Rouwmoer cyclocross race in Essen, Belgium, Saturday, the fifth round of the 2014-15 Bpost Bank Trofee.

Van Aert took to the front early on the first lap, and never looked back. He was initially joined by his teammate, Rob Peeters, with Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) bridging across to form a lead group of three.

Belgian national champion Sven Nys (Crelan AA Drink), the Bpost series leader who returned to competition after a spell of poor form saw him retreat to Mallorca for training, sat in a large chase group, 11 seconds back after one lap.

After two laps, the leading trio had stretched its lead to 17 seconds, as those in the chase group began eyeing each other rather than pushing the pace.

Heading into the third lap, Van Aert picked up 15 seconds of time bonuses for the series classification, with Peeters taking 10 seconds, and Meeusen taking five.

On the third lap, Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) rode clear of the lead chase group, attempting to bridge across to the leaders, while Nys could not maintain contact and drifted to the back of the chase.

After three laps, the trio’s lead over Pauwels was 12 seconds, while the main chase group was a full 29 seconds down.

On the fourth lap, Van Aert went solo as Pauwels made his way up to Peeters and Meeusen. That threat from behind promoted a reaction from Meeusen, who rode away from Peeters.

Heading into the fifth lap, Van Aert held an 11 seconds over Meeusen, with Peeters caught by Pauwels a few seconds behind; Nys trailed almost a full minute down.

With four laps remaining, Van Aert continued to push the pace, alone at the front, with Meeusen chasing alone, followed by Pauwels, with Peeters on his wheel.

With three to go, Meeusen sat 37 seconds back of Van Aert, with Pauwels and Peeters 51 seconds down.

With two laps to go, Van Aert’s lead stretched to 42 seconds as it became clear that Meeusen was racing for second place.

Van Aert crossed the finish line on the final lap with a massive 58-second lead over Meeusen, with Pauwels and Peeters a full 1:30 down.

At the finish, Van Aert’s lead was 1:06 over Meeusen, with Peeters in third, 1:40 back, and Pauwels fourth, at 1:50.

With the win, the U23 world champion also took the Bpost series lead, 1:50 ahead of Nys, with Pauwels in third, at 1:56.

Nys, who had led the series, finished the race in 13th, 2:50 down, prompting his team manager, Jan Verstraeten, to tell Sporza, “Nys is still not as he should be. We will continue to look for the cause.”

Several top riders were absent, including 19-year-old star Mathieu van der Poel (BKCP-Powerplus). Belgian Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) sat out the race due to illness.

World champion Zdenek Stybar, who lives in Essen, has historically used the Essen race as his return to racing after a long road season, but after a shoulder injury in October, Stybar has opted to sit out the remainder of the season. Still, the world champion wrote on Twitter Saturday that it “hurt” not to be on the start line.

In the women’s race, Dutch rider Sophie De Boer (Kalas-NNOF) defeated Belgian national champion Sanne Cant. American Katie Compton (Trek Factory Racing) did not compete, while American Arley Kemmerer finished 13th, 3:27 down.

Laurens Sweeck (Corendon-Kwadro) won the U23 race, 18 seconds ahead of Michael Vanthourenhout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games).

In the junior race, American Brannan Fix finished fourth, 29 seconds behind winner Roel van der Stegen; American Cooper Willsey was 10th, 1:12 down.

On Sunday, the sport’s best racers will compete in Namur, Belgium, for the fourth round of the UCI World Cup series. World champion Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) will make her return to the World Cup circuit.

The Bpost Bank Trofee series resumes on December 30, with the Azencross in Loenhout.

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Top 14 stories of 2014: 10th anniversary of Pantani death http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/road/top-14-stories-2014-10th-anniversary-pantani-death_355033 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/road/top-14-stories-2014-10th-anniversary-pantani-death_355033#comments Sat, 20 Dec 2014 13:00:58 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=355033

Prosecutors are reviewing new documents concerning the death of Marco Pantani. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Pantani's biographer says that much of the media coverage surrounding the Italian's death has been self-indulgent and profit-oriented

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Prosecutors are reviewing new documents concerning the death of Marco Pantani. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

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In the News: Stapleton agrees to conditional settlement in Armstrong case http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/news-stapleton-agrees-conditional-settlement-armstrong-case_356552 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/news-stapleton-agrees-conditional-settlement-armstrong-case_356552#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 22:10:14 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=356552 Lance Armstrong's longtime business associates have agreed to pay $500,000 to the U.S. government as part of a conditional settlement

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USA Today reports that Bill Stapleton and Barton Knaggs have agreed to conditional settlements in the Armstrong case.

Two of Lance Armstrong’s longtime business associates have agreed to pay $500,000 to the United States government as part of a conditional settlement in a lawsuit filed by former Armstrong teammate Floyd Landis.

Stapleton, Armstrong’s longtime agent, and Barton Knaggs, Armstrong’s longtime business partner, also have agreed to pay $100,000 to the law office of Landis’ attorney, Paul Scott.

If approved by the U.S. government, the settlement would release Stapleton, Knaggs, and their agency, Capital Sports & Entertainment, from Landis’ lawsuit in exchange for their combined payments of $500,000 to the government and $100,000 to Scott.

Read more >>

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Top 14 stories of 2014: A tale of two breakaways http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/road/top-14-stories-2014-tale-two-breakaways_355035 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/road/top-14-stories-2014-tale-two-breakaways_355035#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 18:45:39 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=355035

BMC Racing's Michael Schär (left) saw a more than four-minute lead over the top of the last climb – 38km from the finish – reduced to seconds inside the final kilometer of the 210km race. Hincapie rider Joey Rosskopf (right) was caught 3km from the finish. Photo by Casey B. Gibson.

At the Tour of Utah, breakaway companions Michael Schär and Joey Rosskopf were on opposite ends of the spectrum between agony and ecstasy

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BMC Racing's Michael Schär (left) saw a more than four-minute lead over the top of the last climb – 38km from the finish – reduced to seconds inside the final kilometer of the 210km race. Hincapie rider Joey Rosskopf (right) was caught 3km from the finish. Photo by Casey B. Gibson.

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In the News: Minnesota’s only velodrome will close http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/news-minnesotas-velodrome-will-close_356534 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/news-minnesotas-velodrome-will-close_356534#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 18:19:04 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=356534 In the face of a $75,000 bill for repairs, the National Sports Center Foundation rejected a resolution to keep the Blaine track open

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The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Thursday that Minnesota’s only velodrome, located in Blaine, will be shuttered, in the face of an estimated $75,000 required for temporary repairs.

A resolution to save Minnesota’s only velodrome was rejected Thursday by the board in charge of the Blaine’s track.

During its board meeting, the National Sports Center Foundation (NSCF), which operates the velodrome and several other facilities on its sports campus, debated a plan that set financing goals for the Friends of Velodrome Racing in Minnesota, a group that has been fundraising to keep the velodrome up and running, according to a news release.

The sharply banked, Olympic-caliber racing track, built in 1990, already has survived beyond its expected 20-year life span. The outdoor 250-meter wooden track has gotten by with volunteers making minor repairs each racing season, but checks on the velodrome this year revealed more serious problems.

Read more >>

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Scheduling conflict could torpedo Vuelta’s women’s ‘La Course’ http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/conflict-torpedo-vueltas-womens-la-course_356529 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/conflict-torpedo-vueltas-womens-la-course_356529#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 17:53:30 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=356529

Marianne Vos won the inaugural edition of La Course in 2014. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

Facing scheduling conflicts with three other European UCI women's events, plans to hold a women's Vuelta criterium in Madrid may be spoiled

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Marianne Vos won the inaugural edition of La Course in 2014. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

Too many women’s events on the same weekend could torpedo plans by the Vuelta a España to hold a one-day race to coincide with the finale of the 2015 Spanish grand tour.

The Spanish daily AS reported that the UCI has put the kibosh on plans to hold the so-called “La Course by the Vuelta” on September 13 due to a conflict with three other women’s events across Europe on the same weekend.

There was no official confirmation by the UCI, and Vuelta officials could not be reached Friday, but the Spanish daily reported that the UCI has told the Spanish cycling federation (RFEC) that it would not approve the planned event on the streets of Madrid to coincide with the finale of the men’s Vuelta a España.

The date conflicts with three events across Europe, among them the Giro de Toscana in Italy, from September 11-13; the Tour of Belgium, September 10-14; and the Chrono Champenois in France, on September 13.

Vuelta officials are looking for alternatives, and could lean on Spanish government officials to help make their case, AS reported.

The Vuelta is hoping to follow in the footsteps of the Tour de France, which successfully held a women’s criterium on the Champs-Élysées hours ahead of the arrival of the men’s race.

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North American Cyclocross Man of the Year: Jeremy Powers http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/cyclocross/north-american-cyclocross-man-year-jeremy-powers_354321 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/cyclocross/north-american-cyclocross-man-year-jeremy-powers_354321#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 17:45:40 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=354321

Jeremy Powers won the first day of the 2013 Providence Cyclocross Festival. Photo: Wil Matthews | www. wilmatthewsphoto.com

After countless podiums at domestic races, Jeremy Powers is Velo's 2014 North American Cyclocross Man of the Year

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Jeremy Powers won the first day of the 2013 Providence Cyclocross Festival. Photo: Wil Matthews | www. wilmatthewsphoto.com

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the December 2014 issue of Velo magazine, the annual awards issue.

Pick a number between one and three. That’s where Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) finished 99 percent of the races he contested in the U.S. in the 2013-14 season.

Drop a chain in the first corner? No problem. Patiently slice through the entire field on the dusty track of Boulder’s reservoir course at the Colorado Cross Classic and finish up with a tidy second place.

Win New England worlds? Sure thing. Then win again, then again. He took all three races he started during “Holy Week” in New England, winning both days at the Gran Prix of Gloucester, then hitting day 2 at the Providence Cyclocross Festival and stamping his authority.

In all, Powers claimed 12 wins in 22 starts between StarCrossed in September and the North Carolina Grand Prix in December.

The cherry on top was a second national title at Valmont Bike Park in Boulder at the beginning of 2014, in convincing fashion.

But it only got better.

He was beaten to the line at CrossVegas 2014 by only two men — the god himself, Sven Nys, and the current World Cup champion, Lars van der Haar — in what proved to be a tactical battle, with one lethal attack on the final lap. It bodes well for Powers’ intention of focusing on World Cup races this season.

After racing in the desert, Powers set his sights on the domestic UCI races in the more traditional ’cross locales of New England. Before heading to Europe, he won eight straight races, including sweeping three of the four races at New England Holy Week, again.

At the World Cup opener, Powers cracked the top 10 for the second time in his career. If he keeps improving, we’ll soon be calling him the Katie Compton of men’s cyclocross. And there isn’t any higher accolade than that.

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Milano-Sanremo brings back Via Roma finish, favoring attackers http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/milano-sanremo-brings-back-via-roma-finish-favoring-attackers_356520 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/milano-sanremo-brings-back-via-roma-finish-favoring-attackers_356520#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 16:48:26 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=356520

Oscar Freire won on Via Roma in the 2007 Milano-Sanremo. The race will return to the iconic finish straight after a seven-year absence. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Race director Vegni is happy to return to the classic, city-center finish for "La Primavera," which may encourage bold, late-race attacks

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Oscar Freire won on Via Roma in the 2007 Milano-Sanremo. The race will return to the iconic finish straight after a seven-year absence. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

MILAN (VN) — Milano-Sanremo will return to its roots and open itself to attackers on March 22, 2015, when it concludes between the beige- and grey-colored buildings of Via Roma in Sanremo, Italy.

“The Milano-Sanremo race in its 105 years had only two classic finishes: Corso Cavallotti and Via Roma,” RCS Sport cycling director Mauro Vegni told VeloNews.

“Via Roma is a part of cycling’s story with wins like Eddy Merckx’s. It gives a different style and charm to the race than the seaside finish.”

Organizer RCS Sport, which runs the Giro d’Italia, presented its Tirreno-Adriatico race route Thursday in Tuscany. On the drive back to Milan, Vegni heard about Italian cyclist Mauro Santambrogio’s positive test for testosterone. However, he was not concerned with the Tirreno route or the testosterone test, but with the 106th Milano-Sanremo.

He presented the “new” Milano-Sanremo route three weeks ago, November 28. After being pushed a few blocks south, closer to the Italian Riviera for the last seven years, he announced that the 293-kilometer race would end on familiar ground: Via Roma.

From 1907, through World War I and II, Milano-Sanremo finished on Corso Cavallotti on the edge of the seaside town. In 1949, when Italian great Fausto Coppi won, it began reaching the heart of Sanremo on Via Roma. It stayed there, welcomed Eddy Merckx’s wins — a record of seven — and moved only in 2008 when road work forced it seaside on Italo Calvino.

“RCS never wanted to leave Via Roma. We were forced to move to the seaside,” Vegni added.

“Now they are doing other work, where we normally pass through the S-bend at 400 to 500 meters to go, so it’s no longer possible to finish on the seaside. The city proposed that we return to the city center on Via Roma, and I’m more than happy to do so. It’s the classic finish and more prestigious than the seaside one.”

The change means that from the descent of the Poggio climb, the cyclists will have one kilometer less to race to the finish line. The move could open the door for attackers.

“The finish changes the shape of the race and opens it up to many more cyclists than it did before. Instead of three, now they only have two kilometers to race — that one kilometer makes a difference in a 300-kilometer race,” Vegni explained.

“The last five to six years, we always saw a group come together in the last 500 meters and sprint. The change could allow Peter Sagan to stay free. Or, if Vincenzo Nibali gets enough time on the Poggio, seven to eight seconds, he could win.”

Vegni recognized the problem with tweaking his monument to anything other than its traditional route. The Tour of Flanders and Giro di Lombardia — two of cycling’s other five monuments — change nearly every year, but if Vegni even adds a new right- or left-hand turn, eyebrows raise.

For 2014, he tried to take the race up the five-kilometer Pompeiana climb between the Cipressa and Poggio climbs, and the cycling world began to spin out of control. Last-minute road problems stopped him from taking the race over the Pompeiana.

“Sanremo is one of the classics that that is open to the sprinters, which is fine because they also have a right to have a classic. Sanremo has its charm and has to stay as it is. It would no longer be Sanremo if you finished in another town or begin in another city besides Milan,” Vegni said.

“We changed small things, the addition the Cipressa and the Poggio, but they are insignificant and don’t change the classic route. Returning to the Via Roma made me rethink the Pompeiana climb. Now we have the classic Sanremo, and we can see how it opens the door to the attackers.”

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Pro Bike: Tim Johnson’s Cannondale SuperX Hi-Mod http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/cyclocross/pro-bike-tim-johnsons-cannondale-superx_356430 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/cyclocross/pro-bike-tim-johnsons-cannondale-superx_356430#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 15:37:43 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=356430

Former national champ Tim Johnson's Cannondale SuperX Hi-Mod cyclocross race bike is equipped with CX1, disc brakes, and Challenge tubulars

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In the News: Contador hints at retirement by 2017 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/in-the-news-contador-hints-at-retirement-by-2017_356489 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/in-the-news-contador-hints-at-retirement-by-2017_356489#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 14:43:15 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=356489

Alberto Contador wants to go out on top, as a Tour de France champion. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Alberto Contador tells a Spanish newspaper he wants to retire with a Tour de France victory no later than 2017

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Alberto Contador wants to go out on top, as a Tour de France champion. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Don’t expect Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) to hang around like Jens Voigt. The Spaniard said he wants to leave cycling at the top of his game.

Speaking to the Spanish sports daily MARCA, Contador all but confirmed he will retire by the end of the 2017 season, if not before.

Contador wants to exit through the “puerta grande,” and said he intends to retire with an exclamation point.

“Even though I am not burned out physically or mentally, my intention is to retire at the top level, winning my last race,” Contador told MARCA in Friday’s edition. “And I am not talking about some small race, but rather something much bigger. Specifically, the Tour.”

Those comments have fueled speculation in Spain that Contador could retire as soon as 2015, when he plans to try to win both the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France.

Contador, however, said he would likely continue racing one or two more seasons beyond 2015. His contract is up at the end of next year with Tinkoff-Saxo, and he confirmed he already has a few good offers on the table.

Contador, who turned 32 on December 8, said he could not imagine racing beyond 35.

“I don’t see myself doing many more years of this,” he told MARCA. “Cycling demands a lot of sacrifices, and my friends and family are very important to me. At the maximum, I will have one more contract.”

Contador will debut his season at the Ruta del Sol in Spain in February, then likely race Tirreno-Adriatico and Volta a Catalunya before the Giro.

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Dowsett to attempt hour record in 2015 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/dowsett-attempt-hour-record-2015_356498 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/dowsett-attempt-hour-record-2015_356498#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 14:23:46 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=356498

Alex Dowsett will bring his time trial skills to a velodrome in London next year in an hour record attempt. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

The British rider will take on the record February 27 at a London velodrome

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Alex Dowsett will bring his time trial skills to a velodrome in London next year in an hour record attempt. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Alex Dowsett (Movistar) has joined a growing list of riders that will take on the hour record next year.

The 26-year-old Briton will attempt to break the mark on February 27 at London’s Lee Valley VeloPark velodrome, according to a Movistar press release.

“Everyone understands a world record, so I wanted my next target to be the hour record,” Dowsett said in the release. “The Hour is something I’ve always been interested in; the simplicity of it, mostly: no tactics, no hiding, just you and the bike.”

Dowsett said he was inspired to take on the challenge after traveling through Europe with the Miles for Haemophilia campaign in October, which raised awareness of the disease and showed young patients suffering from it that they can still live a healthy lifestyle.

Dowsett has haemophilia and was told as a child he could live his life in a wheelchair.

“We spend our childhoods being told what we can’t do, so I’m going for the record for anyone that gets told what they can’t do something and goes out to prove themselves otherwise,” Dowsett said. “I’m training a hell of a lot harder because of it.”

The hour record went unchallenged for a decade until Jens Voigt broke it in September by riding 51.110 kilometers. A month later, Matthias Brandle (IAM Cycling) eclipsed the mark with a ride of 51.852km.

Besides Dowsett, six other riders will attempt to break the record next year.

Movistar team manager Eusebio Unzué said Dowsett’s hour record attempt is “perfect and positive,” especially in light of his riding for haemophilia patients.

“Alex’s attempt reflects the globalization of cycling and the internationalization of our team,” Unzué said. “Taking the chance with a British rider, at the Olympic velodrome in London, and adding that social drive, with Alex taking such efforts to support those ones with rare diseases, himself being an ambassador of Haemophilia … I already find this attempt perfect and positive for everyone, all circumstances put together.”

Dowsett was the British national time trial champion in 2011-2013, and this year he won the Commonwealth Games time trial.

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Caruso to fill GC gap at BMC Racing for 2015 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/caruso-to-fill-gc-gap-at-bmc-racing-for-2015_356493 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/caruso-to-fill-gc-gap-at-bmc-racing-for-2015_356493#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 13:45:37 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=356493

Damiano Caruso will step into a GC role on BMC Racing next season. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

With the upcoming retirement of Cadel Evans, Damiano Caruso will adopt a grand tour leadership role on BMC behind Tejay van Garderen

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Damiano Caruso will step into a GC role on BMC Racing next season. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

DENIA, Spain (VN) — BMC Racing will lean on Italian talent Damiano Caruso next season to fill a grand tour gap while the team waits for a promising crop of young riders to develop.

BMC remains committed to Tejay van Garderen as its all-out GC man for the Tour de France, but the looming retirement of Cadel Evans and the exit of Spanish veteran Samuel Sánchez means the U.S.-registered team needs warm bodies for the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España.

BMC sporting manager Allan Peiper believes Caruso, who joins from Cannondale for 2015, is just the man for the job, and has tapped him to lead possibly both the Giro and Vuelta.

“Losing Cadel is a void we cannot fill overnight,” Peiper said at a team camp. “Sporting-wise, we’re working on the future, so maybe we need to move some of our goals into other races, while waiting for another GC rider to come along or improve.”

The 2014 season was a year of transition for BMC, with Evans racing to seventh in the Giro and skipping the Tour in what was his final full season. Evans will retire after racing in Australia in February. Sánchez was a late-season pickup for 2014, and he helped carry team colors in the Vuelta, riding to sixth.

With both of them gone for 2015, BMC will be looking to fill in the gaps while van Garderen focuses on the Tour.

The 27-year-old Caruso might not look like the ideal candidate to step into the huge void left by Evans and Sánchez. Peiper cited some promising results, and believes with more support, the Italian could deliver more than a few surprises. Caruso rode to ninth in a highly competitive Vuelta in September, and was third overall at the Tour of Austria in July. He was also third in both the 2012 Tour of Britain and the 2013 Tour of Alberta.

BMC is hoping Caruso can step up in order to give the team more time to nurture such riders as Rohan Dennis, John Atapuma, and Silvan Dillier, among others.

“We have a top-heavy Tour team, so maybe we can tap Caruso for the Giro or the Vuelta,” Peiper said. “There is a danger of having too much youth, but to give them time to develop, we might have to sacrifice some results in some races.”

BMC trimmed its budget going into 2015, and surprisingly did not use the windfall that came with shedding big-money contracts of such riders as Evans, Thor Hushovd, and Sánchez to sign bigger names. Eight new faces join BMC for 2015, but none are established GC contenders.

Instead, the team is focusing on the classics, with Philippe Gilbert and Greg Van Avermaet, supporting van Garderen in the Tour, and slow-brewing its promising crop of younger riders.

Peiper admitted the team wanted to keep Sánchez, but money became an issue. The 2008 Olympic champion will not return to BMC for 2015.

“We couldn’t find a middle point. The team wanted to keep him, and ‘Samu’ wanted to stay with the team, but the offers we made earlier in the season were not acceptable,” Peiper said. “So we found other riders to sign. That’s sometimes the game you play with managers.”

The 36-year-old Sánchez remains without a contract for 2015, and could end his career. Peiper said Sánchez provided a huge boost to the team in every race he started, whether helping Gilbert in the Ardennes or riding GC at the Vuelta.

“He’ll be sorely missed,” Peiper continued. “When he was in the race, it was like having two extra riders. I never really knew him before he came to the team, and I thought that the Olympic champion might be critical, but he was so supportive, so professional in everything he did. We all said we wished we could have worked with him 10 years ago.”

Peiper said there were discussions of having van Garderen race the Giro as well as the Tour, especially in light of longer time trials in the Giro and limited kilometers against the clock in the Tour. In the end, the lure of the Tour carried the day.

“The pinnacle for any team is the Tour de France, and Tejay is our only leader at this moment,” Peiper said. “Tejay also brought it up, and he thought maybe the Giro was better suited for him this year, so why shouldn’t he give it a shot? Sometimes it’s good to shake things up, but the risk factor of going well in two grand tours in a row is high. We’re going to go for it, and build up for the Tour as best we can with Tejay.”

With van Garderen all in for the Tour, BMC’s younger riders might get a chance to test their GC mettle in the grand tours sooner than expected.

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Rigoberto Uran confirms he’ll go for Giro-Tour double http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/rigoberto-uran-confirms-hell-go-giro-tour-double_356418 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/rigoberto-uran-confirms-hell-go-giro-tour-double_356418#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 20:41:01 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=356418

Rigoberto Urán finished second at the 2014 Giro d'Italia, and will return to the race in 2015 for another shot at the pink jersey. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Rising Colombian GC star aims for success at Giro, insists that plan for the Tour is to hunt for a stage and acquire experience

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Rigoberto Urán finished second at the 2014 Giro d'Italia, and will return to the race in 2015 for another shot at the pink jersey. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Rigoberto Urán confirmed he’ll race both the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France in 2015. An Etixx-Quick-Step press release from the team’s training camp in Oliva, Spain, laid out the roadmap for the first half of the Colombian’s race season.

“I am really excited about my program and the races I have to do,” Urán said. “We chose a different approach than last year. In 2014, I started my season in Tour of Oman. This year we decided to change my race calendar a bit. I plan on racing ‘The Double’ [Giro d’Italia and Tour de France]. I will be racing two big grand tours, which changes my calendar needs a bit.”

The 27-year-old will begin 2015 in his home country, racing the Colombian national time trial and road championships, February 7 and 8.

“I start with the ambition that I’d like to win the time trial and do the best I can in the road race,” said Urán. “It would be an honor to wear the Colombian champion jersey in the European races and be like an ambassador of my country.”

Urán’s lead-up to the Giro will include Classic Sud Ardeche, Strade Bianche, and Tirreno-Adriatico. He’ll then race Volta ao Catalunya and Tour de Romandie.

“About the Giro, I saw the parcours and I think I can do well,” he said. “It is suited to my skills. There is also a long time trial. Everyone knows I work a lot on the time trial discipline in order to improve my performance.

“The Giro is a special race where anything can happen at any moment, but my goal is to be there and ready for the race no matter what can happen each day.” Urán finished second behind countryman Nairo Quintana at the 2014 Giro.

After three years, Urán will return to race the Tour de France in 2015. In his last Tour, the Colombian finished 23rd and held the white jersey for six days.

“I am really happy to come back to this race, one of the top races in the world,” he said. “I know it is difficult to do the Giro and the Tour at a high level, but as you know I like to think about things race-by-race, and I am able to focus on two different objectives during my season in this way. My approach will be different at the Tour than at the Giro. I will try to go there to do well, but it will be more linked to rediscovering the race and to stage hunt. But of course I’d also like to do well in the last week.”

Other GC favorites, like Alberto Contador, Joaquim Rodriguez, and possibly Vincenzo Nibali, have said they’ll target both the Italian and French grand tours.

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Gallery: Trek Factory Racing team camp http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/road/gallery-trek-factory-racing-team-camp_356389 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/road/gallery-trek-factory-racing-team-camp_356389#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 18:50:06 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=356389

Trek Factory Racing team gathers in Spain to get geared up for 2015 with early-season training rides and new equipment

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MPCC releases 2015 watch list of member teams http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/mpcc-releases-2015-watch-list-teams_356384 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/mpcc-releases-2015-watch-list-teams_356384#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 18:13:52 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=356384

Maxim Iglinskiy and his brother Valentin tested positive for EPO in late 2014, resulting in Astana's decision to temporarily self-suspend, per MPCC rules. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Movement for Credible Cycling announced a list of six teams that may face self-suspension if their riders fail anti-doping tests in 2015

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Maxim Iglinskiy and his brother Valentin tested positive for EPO in late 2014, resulting in Astana's decision to temporarily self-suspend, per MPCC rules. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

The Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC), which represents 78 percent of UCI WorldTour and Pro Continental teams, issued a statement Thursday that summarized the standing of seven teams. Six of the listed teams will face voluntary suspension, according to MPCC rules, if one or more of their respective riders fail an anti-doping test.

Androni Giocattoli will have to suspend itself for a week if one of its riders violates anti-doping rules before May 30, 2015.

Astana WorldTour will have to suspend itself for four weeks if one of its riders violates anti-doping rules before August 1, 2016.

Colombia will have to suspend itself for one week if one if its riders violates anti-doping rules before January 22, 2015.

Lampre-Merida will have to suspend itself for one week if one of its riders violates anti-doping rules before May 21, 2015.

RusVelo will have to suspend itself for four weeks if one of its riders violates anti-doping rules before March 17, 2015.

Neri Sottoli will have to suspend itself for one week if one of its riders violates anti doping rules before August 7, 2015. This team is suspended from MPCC until the next annual general meeting, planned on October 2015.

Additionally, MPCC noted that Astana Continental, currently suspended by Kazakhstan’s federation, will have to suspend itself for five weeks if it elects to return to competition.

The MPCC self-suspension process is contingent upon the result of a B sample analysis, or an admission of guilt by the rider.

Riders and teams must also comply with WADA and UCI rules, which are binding, but the MPCC relies on teams’ voluntary participation when it comes to sanctions and suspensions.

Member teams also agree that, “in case of an ongoing disciplinary prosecution, a rider will be evicted immediately from a race, in order to prevent cycling’s image and credibility to be jeopardized.”

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Top 14 stories of 2014: The love story http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/road/top-14-stories-2014-love-story_355037 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/road/top-14-stories-2014-love-story_355037#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 18:00:33 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=355037

Matthew Beaudin writes about riding on perfect roads with good company and suffering in Northern Italy

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Movistar’s Tour Down Under team announced http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/movistars-tour-team-announced_356372 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/movistars-tour-team-announced_356372#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 16:35:27 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=356372

One of the peloton's elder statesmen, Pablo Lastras, will lead the Movistar team at the Tour Down Under. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com (File).

Movistar's team for the Australian WorldTour opener will be a mix of old hands and fresh faces for the nine-day race in Adelaide

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One of the peloton's elder statesmen, Pablo Lastras, will lead the Movistar team at the Tour Down Under. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com (File).

SYDNEY (AFP) — Spain’s Movistar team will return to Australia’s Tour Down Under in January with an experienced squad, organizers said on Thursday.

Among their lineup is sprinter Juanjo Lobato, whose 2014 victories included the Tour de Wallonie and the Vuelta a Burgos, plus a fourth-place finish in Milano-Sanremo.

The Tour Down Under is the first UCI WorldTour event of 2015 and will run from January 17-25 in and around Adelaide.

“Movistar is celebrating its second consecutive year as the top-ranked team in the world, with 34 victories in 2014,” race director Mike Turtur said.

The team, which is Spain’s only WorldTour outfit, will be led by the veteran Pablo Lastras, 38, who is heading into his 18th season as a professional. On the other side of the spectrum, Spain’s Ruben Fernandez, 23, the winner of the 2013 Tour de l’Avenir, is a new face on the Movistar team roster in 2015.

The only non-Spanish rider set to represent Movistar in Australia is Italy’s Eros Capecchi, a Giro d’Italia stage winner.

Movistar Tour Down Under roster

Pablo Lastras
Juanjo Lobato
Eros Capecchi
José Herrada
Gorka Izagirre
Enrique Sanz
Rubén Fernández

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Mauro Santambrogio tests positive for testosterone http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/mauro-santambrogio-tests-positive-testosterone_356376 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/mauro-santambrogio-tests-positive-testosterone_356376#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 16:26:57 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=356376

Mauro Santambrogio returned another failed anti-doping test in late 2014, on the heels of an 18-month suspension for EPO doping in the Giro d'Italia. Photo: AFP PHOTO | LUK BENIES (File).

Immediately prior to the end of his 18-month doping ban for an EPO positive at the Giro, Santambrogio tests positive for testosterone

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Mauro Santambrogio returned another failed anti-doping test in late 2014, on the heels of an 18-month suspension for EPO doping in the Giro d'Italia. Photo: AFP PHOTO | LUK BENIES (File).

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announced that Italian rider Mauro Santambrogio returned an adverse analytical finding for testosterone in a sample collected in an out-of-competition anti-doping test performed on October 22, 2014.

Santambrogio, 30, was suspended by the UCI after testing positive for EPO during the 2013 Giro d’Italia, where he went on to finish ninth and win stage 14. Those results were subsequently disqualified; Santambrogio was fired by Vini Fantini (now known as Neri Sottoli or Yellow Fluo), and he was suspended by the UCI for 18 months — a term that had just ended at the beginning of November.

The Italian is not currently employed by a team, and may face a lifetime ban with this second doping violation, if a B sample confirms the result.

In accordance with UCI anti-doping rules, Santambrogio has been provisionally suspended until the adjudication of the affair.

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Tirreno-Adriatico’s 2015 route offers a little of everything http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/tirreno-adriaticos-2015-route-offers-little-everything_356366 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/tirreno-adriaticos-2015-route-offers-little-everything_356366#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 15:49:20 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=356366

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) won the 2014 edition of Tirreno-Adriatico, and he is expected to return to the race's 50th running to defend his winner's trident. Photo: LaPresse

The 2015 Tirreno-Adriatico route will offer a mix of time trials, climbs, and flat stages, and should attract Contador, Nibali, and Froome

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Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) won the 2014 edition of Tirreno-Adriatico, and he is expected to return to the race's 50th running to defend his winner's trident. Photo: LaPresse

CAMAIORE, Italy — Tirreno-Adriatico celebrates its 50th running in 2015, and organizers announced the race route on Thursday. The seven-day stage race will be held March 11-17.

In announcing the route for its silver anniversary, Tirreno-Adriatico remembered past champions of the race, including: Dino Zandegù, the first winner in 1966, Roger De Vlaeminck (six-time consecutive winner), Francesco Moser, Tony Rominger, Maurizio Fondriest, Abraham Olano, Paolo Bettini, Oscar Freire, Fabian Cancellara, Michele Scarponi, Cadel Evans, and more recently, Vincenzo Nibali (2012 and 2013), and reigning champion Alberto Contador.

“Tirreno-Adriatico is one of the races that made the history of this sport and that will keep on making it,” said RCS Sport’s head of cycling, Mauro Vegni. “This is shown by the repeated participation of the best riders in the world and continuous interest of big brands in sponsoring the event; every year more and more councils ask us about being part of the course too.”

The 2015 race is expected to draw Nibali (Astana), Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), and Chris Froome (Sky) out for a pre-Tour de France test, along with Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), winner of the 2014 WorldTour.

2015 race route

Tirenno-Adriatico will start from Camaiore’s renowned Lido, in the Italian Versilia region, with a 22.7km team time trial.

Stage 2 will also start in Camaiore and finish in Cascina, covering 153 kilometers of mostly flat terrain.

Cascina will be the start of stage 3 and will finish in Arezzo, after 203 kilometers, on the same climb that saw Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) beat Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-Quick Step) last year.

Saturday’s stage 4 will be deceptively challenging, held predominantly between the Umbrian and Le Marche regions. The stage will start in Indicatore (Arezzo) and includes four king of the mountain climbs: Foce dello Scopetone, Poggio San Romualdo, Monte San Vicino, and Crispiero, which comes just before the short descent to Castelraimondo, where the race finishes after 218km.

The 194-kilometer queen stage will be held on Sunday, starting from Esanatoglia and finishing on the 5,495-foot Monte Terminillo climb, with two KOMs along the way (Passo Sallegri and Le Arette).

“This is a really compelling course, and the stage ending at the top of Monte Terminillo is perfect for Contador,” said Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff-Saxo).

The penultimate stage is ideal for sprinters, a 210-kilometer dash from Rieti to Porto Sant’Elpidio.

The “Race of the Two Seas” will finish again in San Benedetto del Tronto, with a final-day, 10km individual time trial.

“For 2015, we created a course that, as in previous editions, will test every type of rider,” said Tirreno-Adriatico race director, Stefano Allocchio. “Participation will be extraordinary as usual. Contador, Nibali, Froome, Valverde, Rodriguez, just to give you some names, have all programmed to take part at the race already and I’m certain the spectacle will be guaranteed.”

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