VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com Competitive Cycling News, Race Results and Bike Reviews Thu, 29 Jan 2015 23:07:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Cycling on TV: U.S. viewers may see more, eventually http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/news/cycling-tv-u-s-viewers-may-see-eventually_359618 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/news/cycling-tv-u-s-viewers-may-see-eventually_359618#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 22:47:38 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=359618

For many years, online streaming has been the only way for U.S. cycling fans to watch races. Universal Sports Network is increasing its coverage, but for now, not all cable subscribers have access to the channel. Photo: Spencer Powlison | VeloNews.com

Despite Universal Sports Network's renewed partnership with the UCI, many U.S. cycling fans are still searching for reliable viewing options

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For many years, online streaming has been the only way for U.S. cycling fans to watch races. Universal Sports Network is increasing its coverage, but for now, not all cable subscribers have access to the channel. Photo: Spencer Powlison | VeloNews.com

With the UCI world cyclocross championships set to start on Saturday in the Czech Republic, a familiar refrain pops up on American cycling fans’ Twitter feeds, Facebook posts, and other sources: “How do I watch?”

Currently, the U.S. rights to many UCI cycling events are owned by Universal Sports Network (USN). In fact, the network and the UCI recently announced a renewed partnership through 2018. According to a press release, “The deal gives Universal Sports multi-platform rights, including exclusive TV and digital rights, to the UCI road world championships and UCI world championship and World Cup events in track cycling, BMX, mountain bike, and cyclocross.”

American fans will be able to watch ‘cross worlds live, but only if their cable or satellite package includes USN. “We are available nationally on DIRECTV, DISH, and Verizon FiOS; our cable providers include Time Warner Cable, BrightHouse Networks, Cox Communications, CenturyLink Prism, Google Fiber, WAVE, Bend Broadband, GCI, Atlantic Broadband, Buckeye, Consolidated Communications, and several other regional systems,” USN’s Catherine Philbin told VeloNews via email.

Although the list of providers seems long, it excludes Comcast, which Philbin cites as the largest cable distributor in the U.S. “We are currently available to more than 60 million homes in the U.S.,” she said. That amounts to 52 percent of the total U.S. television market, which is estimated to be just shy of 114 million homes, according to Nielsen.

Those who prefer to watch the race online can do so on the USN website, but they must log in using their cable/satellite provider account and have a TV package that includes USN.

One exception, for U.S. fans who either don’t want to upgrade cable packages, are tied to Comcast, or simply don’t have a TV, is DishWorld. For $10 per month, you can subscribe to DishWorld Sports, which includes USN, as well as other networks, and stream the channel on your computer or mobile device. DishWorld also offers an app on the iTunes store and Google Play.

If you’re not a ‘cross fan, or you aren’t keen to spend more money to watch cycling, Philbin said that 2015 world road championships will see expanded broadcasts in the U.S. across USN, NBC, NBCSN, and CNBC. “Looking ahead I can tell you that NBC channels will have more than 17 hours of coverage during the week — events almost every day and most of it live, including the last day,” Philbin wrote. She also hinted that Richmond 2015 is developing an app that may offer live race video.

Although options are slowly expanding, it’s likely that, this weekend, many American ‘cross fans will resort to sketchy online feeds laden with pop-up ads, perhaps out of frugality, or maybe just for old times’ sake.

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Video: 10 riders to watch at 2015 cyclocross worlds http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/video/video-10-riders-watch-2015-cyclocross-worlds_359613 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/video/video-10-riders-watch-2015-cyclocross-worlds_359613#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 21:24:39 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=359613

Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Global Cycling Network picks five frontrunners for both the men's and women's elite world championship races this weekend in Tabor

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Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Editor’s Note: This video is courtesy of Global Cycling Network. The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily represent the opinions of VeloNews.com, Velo magazine or the editors and staff of Competitor Group, Inc.

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Gallery: A look inside pro mechanics’ toolboxes http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/news/cyclocross/gallery-look-inside-pro-mechanics-toolboxes_359575 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/news/cyclocross/gallery-look-inside-pro-mechanics-toolboxes_359575#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 21:05:03 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=359575

Pro wrenches make the cyclocross world go 'round. Here's a look at the special equipment they need to do their jobs, day after muddy day

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Belgians will be tough to beat in U-23, junior ‘cross worlds http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/news/cyclocross/belgians-will-tough-beat-u-23-junior-cross-worlds_359569 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/news/cyclocross/belgians-will-tough-beat-u-23-junior-cross-worlds_359569#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 18:42:45 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=359569

Belgian national champion Laurens Sweek will likely deliver a big result in the U-23 world cyclocross championships in Tabor. Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com

Eli Iserbyt and Laurens Sweeck, both Belgian, will toe the line in Tabor as outright favorites in the junior and U-23 races, respectively

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Belgian national champion Laurens Sweek will likely deliver a big result in the U-23 world cyclocross championships in Tabor. Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com

TABOR, Czech Republic (VN) — In the absence of Wout Van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel from the U-23 race, both of the youth categories at world cyclocross championships feature clear favorites. Belgian stars will arrive in Tabor with the highest expectations for both the junior and U-23 men’s races.

First to go, on Saturday, will be the junior men, led by Belgian Eli Iserbyt, who won all but one of the 20 races he entered this season and overwhelmingly claimed the World Cup title.

Among the others vying for a chance to displace him from the top of the podium will be U.S. national champion Gage Hecht. Hecht posed impressive results in Europe all season, winning a non-World Cup race on the difficult circuit in Koksijde, never finishing worse than fifth during USA cycling’s developmental racing block in Belgium in December, and taking third in the final World Cup race in Hoogerheide, Netherlands, last Sunday.

“I’m so excited for [Tabor]. I’m hoping for another podium,” he said on Sunday. If he achieves his goal, he would earn the United States its first men’s worlds medal since Danny Summerhill and Jonathan Page both took silver in Hooglede-Gits, Belgium, in 2007.

Other American juniors with realistic top-10 hopes on Saturday include Gavin Haley, whose biggest win was in the non-cup juniors race at the World Cup weekend in Milton Keynes, England, and Cooper Willsey and Lance Haidet, both of whom posted top-10 results in Europe this season.

Meanwhile for Sunday’s U-23 event, the biggest beneficiary of Van Aert and van der Poel’s move to the elites is surely Belgian under-23 champion Laurens Sweeck. Sweeck himself posted impressive results in his few forays into elite fields this season, including a second-place finish at Scheldecross in Antwerp, Belgium, in December. Sweeck earned a convincing win in the U-23 race at Hoogerheide last Sunday, and now stands alone as the top favorite for the race.

Sweeck will, however, have to hold off fellow Belgian and 2013 U-23 worlds silver medalist Michael Vanthourenhout, who won the overall World Cup title and was the only man to match Sweeck for any length of time last weekend.

American hopes will likely rest on Logan Owen, a second-year U-23 racer who narrowly missed out on a medal in the junior race at the Louisville, Kentucky, world championships two years ago. Owen has largely focused on the road this year, racing cyclocross only sporadically toward the end of the season, but he comes to Tabor fit and well-rested. Americans Curtis White, Tobin Ortenblad, and Drew Dillman have also raced well in Europe earlier this year.

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Golden opportunity: Women’s ‘cross worlds there for the taking http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/news/cyclocross/golden-opportunity-womens-cross-worlds-taking_359565 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/news/cyclocross/golden-opportunity-womens-cross-worlds-taking_359565#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 18:00:36 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=359565

This year's world cyclocross championships in Tabor, Czech Republic, may offer a golden opportunity for World Cup winner Sanne Cant to claim a rainbow jersey. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com (File).

The 2015 cyclocross world championships in Tabor may offer a rare opportunity to dethrone reigning women's champ Marianne Vos

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This year's world cyclocross championships in Tabor, Czech Republic, may offer a golden opportunity for World Cup winner Sanne Cant to claim a rainbow jersey. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com (File).

TABOR, Czech Republic (VN) — For the first time in many seasons, defending cyclocross world champion Marianne Vos looks vulnerable. Some might have predicted that Vos’ frenetic pace, winning nearly every race in sight, more or less year-round, would eventually lead to injury. And now, ahead of the biggest race of the season, the women’s championship could be up for grabs.

When Vos finished 12th on Sunday in Hoogerheide, it was just the third time since 2009 that she missed the podium. Vos, a seven-time world champion, was inarguably the favorite for the women’s race on Saturday. But she races one of the most demanding schedules of any woman in the world and told reporters that the race in Hoogerheide exacerbated a hamstring problem that has nagged her for months.

Vos won the Dutch championship earlier this month, but did so on one of the heaviest, muddiest courses cyclocross has seen in years. On Sunday, she said, she was still paying the price for that effort. Instead, Italy’s Eva Lechner, who herself earned a silver medal at the world championships in 2014, attacked mid-race and rode to an impressive solo win. The effort earns her a mention as one of four clear contenders to dethrone Vos.

Not far behind was California-based Czech rider Katerina Nash, who, until last weekend, was the only woman to beat Vos this season — a feat she accomplished twice during Belgium’s busy Kerstperiode (Christmastime) racing period, at races in Namur and Loenhout. Nash, a former Olympic cross-country skier, won a bronze medal at the 2011 worlds in Sankt-Wendel, Germany.

On Sunday, Nash told VeloNews she was optimistic, but had no expectations for her first world championship race in her home country since cyclocross last visited Tabor in 2010 — a race in which she finished just off the podium.

“I’m just trying to focus on having a good ride and I personally just want to cross the finish line and be happy,” Nash said. “Sometimes it’s fifth place. You just don’t know, so much goes into the preparation, and I really value the process, not just the outcome. … I did race in Tabor before, and it was quite an experience. So I’m looking forward to next week.”

Hot on their heels on Sunday were Belgian national champion and first-time World Cup winner Sanne Cant, along with French champion Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, the latter a world champion on the road this year. Both women are in the middle of breakout years. Cant, a worlds medalist in 2012 in Koksijde, Belgium, announced her arrival at the very top of the sport with a remarkable stretch in November and December during which she won 12 of 15 races she entered and only finished off the podium once, abandoning a race in Spa-Francorchamps due to injury.

Ferrand-Prévot, who calls Vos both her biggest rival and best teacher, posted her best results ever during the 2014-15 campaign, including two late-season World Cup podium finishes.

Other women to watch with an outside shot for a place on the podium include Belgium’s Ellen Van Loy, Great Britain’s Helen Wyman and Nikki Harris, France’s Lucie Chainel-Lefevre, and the Netherlands’ Sabrina Stultiens and Sophie de Boer.

Still, despite the depth of the women’s field and whatever Vos’ condition may be, counting her out would be a mistake and she will still be the woman to beat on Saturday.

For the Americans, medal hopes have long rested on the shoulders of Katie Compton. But Compton has been dogged by problems her entire career, and her worlds results — three silver medals and one bronze in eight starts — in particular reflect this. Early in her career Compton struggled with mysterious leg pain, pain that forced her out of the championship race here in Tabor in 2010. More recently she has battled asthma and allergies. On Sunday in Hoogerheide she finished 21st, a deeply disappointing result, although one that was good enough to keep her on the podium in the overall series standings. After the race she told VeloNews she was approaching the world championships without any major aspirations.

“I don’t have any expectations for next week. We’ll see how it goes,” Compton said.

In her place, medal hopes fall to several other women, all of whom are capable of big rides in international competition. At the top of the list are likely Kaitie Antonneau, 23, and Rachel Lloyd, 40, who took silver and bronze in the national championship race in Austin, Texas, a few weeks ago.

Lloyd, who was a leading American hopeful for many years before putting her racing career on hold to start a family, returned to elite competition — resurgent — last year. Lloyd said on Sunday she had battled illness in recent weeks, but that the rest her illness required left her feeling relatively fresh coming into the season’s homestretch. Antonneau, who has become one of America’s most reliable riders on the international stage, has been on top form in recent weeks.

They are joined by Meredith Miller, Elle Anderson, and Crystal Anthony, all of whom are veterans of Europe’s ferocious cyclocross racing, and all of whom are likely capable of posting top-10 results on the Tabor track.

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Matteo Pelucchi wins Mallorca opener http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/news/matteo-pelucchi-wins-mallorca-opener_359559 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/news/matteo-pelucchi-wins-mallorca-opener_359559#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 17:33:34 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=359559

Matteo Pelucchi (IAM Cycling) won the first day of the Challenge Ciclista Mallorca, out-sprinting Team Sky's Elia Viviani. Photo: AFP PHOTO | JAIME REINA

Pelucchi notches IAM Cycling's first European win of the season, out-sprinting Elia Viviani, Nacer Bouhanni, and André Greipel

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Matteo Pelucchi (IAM Cycling) won the first day of the Challenge Ciclista Mallorca, out-sprinting Team Sky's Elia Viviani. Photo: AFP PHOTO | JAIME REINA

MILAN (VN) — Italian Matteo Pelucchi (IAM Cycling) won Europe’s first big race of 2015, the Challenge Mallorca’s Trofeo Santanyi, Thursday. He out-sprinted Elia Viviani (Team Sky) and José Joaquín Rojas (Movistar). Top sprinters Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) and André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) finished further back in the top 10.

“The other teams tried to break the pack up, but we were vigilant and were always well placed in the front,” Pelucchi said. “I really must thank the team because they had complete confidence in me. Today is a victory for the whole team, not only a victory for me.”

“Everyone had to work for Matteo,” Rubens Bertogliati, IAM Cycling’s director said. “And we saw the results; I think the instructions were followed to perfection. The race took place on a circuit that was covered three times. In the final round, there were gaps in the pack, and I think that helped us to position Matteo. It is ‘easier’ to fight for the win when there are 100 riders instead of 180. Then the team did a great job to get Matteo in the best possible position just before the bend 500 meters from the line.”

Today’s win stands out as IAM Cycling’s first on European soil after becoming a WorldTour team this winter. Heinrich Haussler kicked off 2015 for IAM with the Australian national title.

“Bam!” the team responded on Twitter. “Good Job! Matteo Pelucchi wins the first sprint!”

Pelucchi’s biggest win came at home last year in Italy’s Tirreno-Adriatico stage race. Most remember the sprint to Cascina, near Pisa, thanks to Marcel Kittel (Giant-Alpecin). The Tour de France’s sprint king of 2014 broke his handlebars, crashed, and picked up and slammed his bike down in frustration. Arnaud Démare, André Greipel and Peter Sagan finished behind Pelucchi, while Mark Cavendish was slowed by Kittel’s incident and managed to reaccelerate and placed 17th.

His win in Tirreno-Adriatico was dedicated to a former teammate, Belgian Kristof Goddaert, who crashed after becoming tangled in a tram line while training and died under a bus February 18.

The television cameras in Mallorca, where racing continues tomorrow, did not catch Pelucchi riding a wheelie after his win. Like Sagan, the Lombard from Giussano can do that and more.

Last year at the 2014 Vuelta a España, Pelucchi raced his first grand tour and sprinted to 10th on stage 2 behind Bouhanni. The 26-year-old could have more opportunities this year as IAM Cycling is guaranteed starts in all three grand tours: the Giro d’Italia, the Tour de France, and the Vuelta a España.

His dream is to win a stage in a grand tour or Milano-Sanremo. He also likes battling in the wind and cold of the northern classics, from Dwars door Vlaanderen to Paris-Roubaix, where he competed for the first time in 2014.

In the one-day races, he will support Haussler and Sylvain Chavanel, but could also have a chance to lead the Swiss team to victory as he did in Cascina.

Pelucchi will continue in the Challenge Mallorca’s Trofeo Serra de Tramuntanan and Trofeo Playa de Palma-Palma this Saturday and Sunday, and then travel to the Middle East to race the Tour of Oman with team leader Mathias Frank.

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Paris-Roubaix 2015: A taste of Tour cobbles http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/news/paris-roubaix-2015-taste-tour-cobbles_359550 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/news/paris-roubaix-2015-taste-tour-cobbles_359550#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 16:12:36 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=359550

The 2015 Paris-Roubaix route is identical to the 2013 edition of the race. It includes three cobblestone sectors that will also feature in the Tour de France's stage 3. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com (File).

Paris-Roubaix offers more cobblestones than last year, and three sectors that will feature in the Tour de France's stage 4 in July

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The 2015 Paris-Roubaix route is identical to the 2013 edition of the race. It includes three cobblestone sectors that will also feature in the Tour de France's stage 3. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com (File).

The 2015 edition of the Paris-Roubaix classic will feature three cobblestone sections shared with the Tour de France’s stage 4.

Sectors Quiévy (3,700 meters), Saint-Python (1,500 meters), and Verchain-Maugré (1,600 meters) will be part of the 253-kilometer route between Compiègne and the Roubaix velodrome in France, and the three will also feature in the first week of the Tour. In the 2014 Tour de France, eventual race winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) stunned GC rivals with a brilliant ride on the wet cobbles in stage 5.

The 113th edition of the “queen of the classics” will take place April 12. The route includes 52.7km of cobbles, spread over 27 sectors, which is 1.6km more than last year’s running.

The 2015 Paris-Roubaix route is identical to the 2013 race, which was won by Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing).

In keeping with tradition, the first cobbles will come at Troisvilles (after 97.5km). More likely than not, the race’s decisive moments will happen in the Nord-Pas de Calais, where the most perilous sectors await the riders: the Trouée d’Arenberg (after 158km), Mons-en-Pévèle (after 205km), and the Carrefour de l’Arbre (after 236.5km).

Cobblestone sectors included in both Paris-Roubaix and Tour de France stage 4:
Quiévy (after 107.5 km – 3,700 meters)
Saint-Python (after 112.5 km – 1,500 meters)
Verchain-Maugré (after 130 km – 1,600 meters)

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Tour champion Nibali’s 2015 campaign starts in Dubai http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/news/tour-champion-nibalis-2015-campaign-starts-dubai_359544 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/news/tour-champion-nibalis-2015-campaign-starts-dubai_359544#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 15:41:10 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=359544

The Dubai Tour's inaugural edition, held in 2014, was won by American Taylor Phinney. In 2015, the race expands and will host more WorldTour teams. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Vincenzo Nibali will get in some early season race miles at the Dubai Tour alongside Cavendish, Tony Martin, Valverde, and others

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The Dubai Tour's inaugural edition, held in 2014, was won by American Taylor Phinney. In 2015, the race expands and will host more WorldTour teams. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

DUBAI — Reigning Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) will kick off his 2015 race season at the Dubai Tour, February 4-7.

“I’m convinced that Dubai represents a great opportunity for cycling and vice versa,” Nibali said at the route presentation in November. “Dubai Tour, which I raced last year too, will be my seasonal debut in 2015. The course is very interesting, and the third stage, with the final steep climb, it’s something very nice, [and] very hard to find in these surroundings.”

Many other notables will join Nibali in the desert, including: Mark Cavendish (Etixx-Quick-Step), former world champion and winner of 43 grand tour stages; Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), winner of the 2014 UCI WorldTour ranking; Tony Martin (Etixx-Quick-Step), three-time world time trial champion; Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha), two-time winner of Il Lombardia; Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing), former world champion; and John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin), winner of 10 stages in the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España.

“I’m looking forward to riding Dubai Tour for a second straight year,” Cavendish said. “It’s well-organized, and it is an important early season race to prepare our leadout train. We’ll be going with Mark Renshaw and also Fabio Sabatini, who is a new part of our leadout. It will be the first time the three of us work together in a competition.

“I worked really well with Sabatini in the first race of the season [Tour de San Luis]. He fits in really well. I think he will be great to position Renshaw as the final leadout man, and to also keep the train smooth. We’ll be looking for wins at this race just as we did at Tour de San Luis, and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do and further fine tuning our lead out.”

Dubai Tour teams and leaders

As a UCI 2.HC race, 16 teams (including 10 WorldTour teams) of 8 riders will race.

Ag2r-La Mondiale (F) – Bakelandts, Van Summeren
Astana (Kz) – Nibali, Boom
Bardiani CSF (I) – Battaglin, Pirazzi
BMC Racing (USA) – Gilbert, Zabel
CCC Sprandi Polkowice (Pl) – Bole, Szmyd
Etixx-Quick-Step (B) – Cavendish, Martin
Lampre-Merida (I) – Pozzato, Xu
Movistar (Sp) – Valverde, Malori
Skydive Dubai (UAE) – Mancebo, Gusev
Giant-Alpecin (G) – Degenkolb, Mezgec
Katusha (Rus) – Rodriguez, Porsev
Novo Nordisk (USA) – Megias, Verschoor
Team Sky (GB) – Thomas, Swift
Tinkoff-Saxo (Rus) – Valgren, Kiserlovski
UAE National Team – Badr Mohamed Ahmed Mohamed Alhammadi, Mohammed Yousef Ahmed Abdulla
UnitedHealthcare (USA) – Brajkovic and Canola

The Race


The inaugural Dubai tour took place in 2014, and was won by BMC Racing’s Taylor Phinney. For its second year, the tour has been upgraded from a 2.1 to a 2.HC UCI category, allowing it to host a greater number of the UCI WorldTour teams.

The 2015 edition will also be longer — 660km in total distance, a 60 percent increase over last year.

Stages:
Stage 1 – The Westin Dubai Stage (Dubai – Dubai) 145km – sprint stage
Stage 2 – Nakheel Stage (Dubai – Jumeirah Palm) 187km – sprint stage
Stage 3 – Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority Stage (Dubai-Hatta) 205km – with hill-climb finish
Stage 4 – The Burj Stage (Dubai – Burj Khalifa) 123km – sprint stage

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Youngsters may deliver unpredictable men’s race at ‘cross worlds http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/news/cyclocross-worlds-in-a-word-unpredictable_359541 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/news/cyclocross-worlds-in-a-word-unpredictable_359541#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 15:21:59 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=359541

Mathieu van der Poel is on many prognosticators' favorites lists in Sunday's elite men's race at the cyclocross worlds. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Young guns like Van Aert and van der Poel set to shake up cyclocross world championships as the old guard fights to stay on the podium

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Mathieu van der Poel is on many prognosticators' favorites lists in Sunday's elite men's race at the cyclocross worlds. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

TABOR, Czech Republic (VN) — If ever there was a wide-open cyclocross world championships, this is it.

Who could have predicted in September that we would arrive at worlds without a single defending world champion standing as a clear favorite to repeat?

Some might have predicted the absence of defending men’s champion Zdenek Stybar, who is chasing classics glory on the road this year, especially after his nasty crash in Ardooie in October. Some might have predicted the rise of defending under-23 champion Wout Van Aert, who abandoned his eligibility in that category to race among the big boys in the elites. At the same time, some might have predicted Mathieu van der Poel, 20, to also make the jump to race as an elite ahead of the Tabor championships. But all of the above, at the same time?

So we come to the championships, in this village of 35,000 people, about an hour’s drive south of Prague, the favorites list shaken almost beyond recognition, with only a handful of riders found on the list made just one year ago for Hoogerheide worlds.

Gone is defending champion Stybar. Gone is two-time champion Niels Albert, who retired suddenly from competition last spring due to a serious heart condition.

Absent also from the list of top favorites is Belgian Sven Nys, the perennially obvious choice to win the championships, after one of the darkest stretches of his decades-long career. Nys, 38, has dominated ’cross since winning the first of his nine Belgian national titles in 2000, but has not won a race since early November.

In December, mired in the depths of a deep slump, Nys sat out several races. Since his return, his results have ticked upward, and he has been more active near the front of races, but has yet to find his way onto the podium.

With Nys struggling and the sport’s other big champions gone, the two youngest men in the elites, Mathieu van der Poel and Wout Van Aert, have picked up where the others left off, combining for 20 wins this season. Van Aert tore through the December calendar, dispatching nearly all comers, and van der Poel collected most of the wins Van Aert left on the table. The two did a delicate will-they-or-won’t-they dance for most of January before committing to racing with the elites in Tabor.

Van der Poel’s one-minute victory over Van Aert in Hoogerheide on Sunday had many prognosticators picking him as the top favorite for the rainbow stripes, but Van der Poel — son of former champion Adrie van der Poel — said in interviews he was just one of several contenders.

“There isn’t really one favorite, there are several favorites,” he told VeloNews. “It’s going to be a very hard race there. Wout Van Aert, Tom Meeusen, Sven Nys, Kevin Pauwels, Lars van der Haar. You have five people, maybe more, who can be world champion.”

But in Hoogerheide Van Aert — perhaps strategically — pointed directly at van der Poel.

“I think before this race everybody was thinking about the big group who had a chance for the worlds,” he said. “I think about myself, Mathieu, [Kevin] Pauwels, [Lars] Van der Haar, Nys. Everybody was, I think, hoping for an exciting race with a big group in the front. But today, you can see, Mathieu was a lot stronger than us, and I think it makes him, for sure, the favorite.”

Van Aert nonetheless acknowledged his own aspirations for another year in rainbows after winning the U-23 championship in 2014 even as he tried to diffuse the pressure a little bit.

“I go over there with a lot of ambition,” he said. “I hope for the best result I can get, but I don’t have a specific expectation in my mind. I hope I can learn a lot over there. I hope I can use that in the future.”

Regardless of his own aspirations, Van Aert’s assessment of the top favorites was spot-on. The rider most likely to challenge the two newcomers in Tabor would seem to be Kevin Pauwels, who claimed the World Cup title on Sunday. The Belgian Pauwels has been the only rider consistently capable of beating the pair in recent months. Behind him countrymen Meeusen, Nys, and perhaps new Belgian champion Klaas Vantornout, as well as Dutchmen van der Haar and Corné van Kessel, German Philipp Walsleben, and French rider Francis Mourey all figure to have an outside shot at the podium.

Of the American contingent, only national champion Jeremy Powers has been consistently capable of equalling the world’s best this season. Powers finished ninth overall in the World Cup and certainly posted the best European results of his career, but has never performed consistently in world championship races.

Jonathan Page, the only American man to ever win a worlds medal in the elites, brings the most experience of almost anyone but Sven Nys to Sunday’s race. He looked to be on very good form at the national championships a few weeks ago, and is more than capable of vying for the top 10 if the cards should fall his way, especially if racers face snow or mud on Sunday.

Behind the two JPs are Jamey Driscoll, Zach McDonald, and Stephen Hyde, filling out a relatively young roster. Whether any have a shot to crack the top-10 is hard to say, but the race will surely provide good experience, especially for McDonald and Hyde, neither of whom have started in an elite world championship race before.

The intangibles

The championship may be decided as much by what happens in the race as what happens to the course. On Thursday, the course was covered by a thin layer of snow, but with temperatures near freezing and brilliant winter sunshine, the snowcover was melting and the ground was softening. With similar conditions — highs near the freezing mark and variable cloudiness — in the forecast, the course could just as easily wind up muddy and slick as it could be tacky and firm.

Riders on Sunday said they expected tight battles on a course that neither features major elevation change nor is exceptionally technical. However, if the course stays wet — of if snow falls again — all bets could be off. What part the conditions are likely to play in the weekend’s races we won’t know for another 24 hours at least.

This much is sure, however: With so much up in the air ahead of the races, fans on the ground — or tuning in on TV and online — may well be in for the most exciting world championships the sport has witnessed in perhaps a decade.

Racing starts with the junior men on Saturday at 11 a.m. local time (5 a.m. ET), and the women at 2 p.m. (8 a.m. ET). The championships continue on Sunday with the U-23 race at 11 a.m. (5 a.m. ET) and the elite men at 2 p.m. (8 a.m. ET).

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Ask a Mechanic: Overhauling Shimano hubs http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/video/ask-mechanic-overhauling-shimano-hubs_359537 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/video/ask-mechanic-overhauling-shimano-hubs_359537#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 13:44:59 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=359537

Art’s Cyclery explains the process for disassembling, adjusting, and reassembling Shimano 6800 and 9000 hubs

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Local favorite Nash aims for cyclocross worlds win http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/news/local-favorite-nash-aims-for-cyclocross-worlds-win_359528 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/news/local-favorite-nash-aims-for-cyclocross-worlds-win_359528#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 13:34:47 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=359528

Katerina Nash will tackle the world championships in Tabor, Czech Republic as the local favorite. She grew up just over an hour away. Photo: Wil Matthews | www.wilmatthewsphoto.com

Nash will line up on the front row with several other top contenders for Sunday's race

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Katerina Nash will tackle the world championships in Tabor, Czech Republic as the local favorite. She grew up just over an hour away. Photo: Wil Matthews | www.wilmatthewsphoto.com

An airy three inches of snow fell on Prachatice, Czech Republic overnight Monday, adding a hint of slip-and-slide to Katerina Nash’s training spin. The legs are good, she says. Confidence is high. Pressure is low. The UCI world cyclocross championship course in Tabor suits her well. And a bit of snow, for a veteran of both the summer and winter Olympics, for a rider with handling skills honed by a decade on the mountain bike circuit, only improves her odds.

This weekend, the world’s best cyclocrossers better watch out for the local girl.

Nash (Luna) will line up on the front row of the cyclocross worlds, her bright smile beaming out at aunts and uncles, friends, even grandma, all lining the course an hour from her old hometown. Tabor, for Nash, is a home race; this worlds will be tackled with a home-field advantage.

“I’m really excited. It’s nice to be here, so nice to be finally here,” Nash said, walking home from dinner Wednesday night. “I’ve been thinking about it for a while. I grew up only an hour away from here; part of my family is here.”

Tabor has a habit of smiling on its locals. Last time the world championships were held here, in 2010, Czech rider Zdenek Stybar rode away from the men’s field in slick, wintery conditions. Nash, second at the final World Cup in Hoogerheide just a week ago, is hoping for similar fortune this weekend.

“I traveled back [from the U.S.] last week for the final World Cup. I wasn’t quite sharp there, but I had a great ride. So I’m going into the last week before worlds pretty positive,” she said.

The course, which was snow-covered in 2010, has been staked out and pre-ridden. But with fresh snow on the ground and temperatures just above freezing forecast for the weekend, it’s guaranteed to change.

“I’ll wake up and see what it looks like, I’m not checking the weather because I don’t want to think about it,” Nash said. “Cyclocross is so unpredictable, you could start in a snowstorm and end in mud. I’m preparing myself for everything. Had a good fun bike ride yesterday in my hometown in three inches of fresh snow, and I’m prepared for anything.”

The list of rivals has only grown as this season has progressed. To unseat a long-dominant Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv), or a strong and healthy Katie Compton (Trek Factory Racing), or Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Rabo) and her technical skills, or Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) and her finishing kick, will take a phenomenal day. But Nash has beaten each already this season; she crossed the line ahead of them all in Namur, Belgium in December, and defeated all but Vos in Zolder a week later. A second place at last week’s final World Cup confirmed her form has been well-timed.

“There’s a large group of women that have been really fun and competitive. Vos is the biggest favorite, along with anyone on the podium from last weekend,” Nash said. “Cant is always unpredictable. I think Katie can also have a good ride here, so it’s just … I don’t know, there are probably five to 10 people who are players. And maybe somebody else will show up. It’s best not to count anybody out.”

A front-row call-up will help Nash’s chances, too. Unlike past years, she raced enough World Cups, and earned enough points, to earn a starting slot next to the other favorites.

“I’m not saying you can’t make it up there from second or third row, I’ve done it many times, but it’s that risk of someone in front of you not going as fast, it’s just another element that could play a role,” she said. “From the front row, you have nobody to blame but yourself.”

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UCI to host inaugural Women’s Teams Seminar http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/news/uci-host-inaugural-womens-teams-seminar_359521 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/news/uci-host-inaugural-womens-teams-seminar_359521#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 23:24:35 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=359521

A day after the inaugural women's Strade Bianche race, the UCI will host its first-ever Women's Teams Seminar in Italy. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com (File)

UCI will gather professional women's teams the day after Strade Bianche to solicit feedback and guide its Women's Commission's work

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A day after the inaugural women's Strade Bianche race, the UCI will host its first-ever Women's Teams Seminar in Italy. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com (File)

The UCI announced Wednesday that it will host a Women’s Teams Seminar in conjunction with the Strade Bianche race to be held March 7.

UCI Women’s Commission president Tracey Gaudry said it was fitting that the UCI organize its first UCI Women’s Teams Seminar to coincide with the inaugural women’s Strade Bianche. The seminar, to which all 38 UCI women’s teams will be invited, will be held March 8 in Siena, Italy.

“After the launch of La Course by Le Tour last year, this is another welcome step forward for women’s cycling,” said Gaudry. “The UCI is currently working on a project to further develop women’s road cycling over the coming years, and we are very pleased to have the support of different major organizers. As president of the Women’s Commission and also as a former athlete, I appreciate how important this is.”

“The UCI needs more information from the teams,” said UCI Women’s Cycling Coordinator Andrea Marcellini. “We are in the process of forming a Women’s Teams Working Group, made up of riders, team representatives, and a sports economist, which will help us define priorities and establish a timeline for each step of professionalizing the teams.

“The seminar will give us a chance to outline the role of the working group, share what is planned, and receive feedback. It will also be an opportunity for everyone to have their say.”

“We are very glad that UCI has chosen the inaugural Strade Bianche women’s race to hold the first Women Teams’ Seminar, and our will is to give all the support they may need in organizing this event,” RCS Sport’s Mauro Vegni said. “Being held at the beginning of the season, it is a good way to pay specific attention to important matters regarding the whole season.

“That the seminar coincides with International Women’s Day is an added value which we hope will be a communication drive pushing media to speak about women’s cycling.”

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Video: Peter Sagan’s Specialized S-Works Venge http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/video/video-peter-sagans-specialized-s-works-venge_359518 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/video/video-peter-sagans-specialized-s-works-venge_359518#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 21:39:38 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=359518

Global Cycling Network takes a close look at Peter Sagan's new Specialized bike.

Global Cycling Network takes look at Peter Sagan's new bike for 2015, a Specialized Venge with mix of Shimano, Specialized, and FSA parts

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Global Cycling Network takes a close look at Peter Sagan's new Specialized bike.

Editor’s Note: This video is courtesy of Global Cycling Network. The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily represent the opinions of VeloNews.com, Velo magazine or the editors and staff of Competitor Group, Inc.

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Find your approach: Eight ways to get in solid winter training http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/training-center/find-approach-eight-ways-get-solid-winter-training_359514 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/training-center/find-approach-eight-ways-get-solid-winter-training_359514#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:35:57 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=359514

As a pro 'cross racer who also works for Strava, Elle Anderson has good advice on how to fit in high-quality rides during the winter. Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com

Is winter giving you fits? Coach Trevor Connor has advice to help you build fitness for the season without grinding away on the trainer

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As a pro 'cross racer who also works for Strava, Elle Anderson has good advice on how to fit in high-quality rides during the winter. Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the February 2014 issue of Velo magazine.

Weather, daylight, family, or work — each of us have different constraints on our winter riding schedule. But according to Elle Anderson, a rising cyclocross star with the Kalas-NNOF team, who also works for Strava, all of these factors shouldn’t be seen as limitations. “[They] are just a part of my life, and there are plenty of ways to approach it,” she said. Here are some suggestions on how to apply the principles of sufficient stress, doing the right stress, and timing, to find your best approach to winter training.

Hard weeks, long weekends

Combining shorter, high-quality riding during the week with a long ride on the weekend is a time-efficient way to stress the body. “Usually after work, it’s just either an hour or 90 minutes,” Chris Phipps, a masters national champion, said. On the weekend, he seeks out the team ride for some volume, but “this time of year it’s pretty constant [pace]. We don’t race up the climbs. We’ll go a pretty good effort, like tempo on the flats. It’s all good base miles. No high intensity.”

One weekend a month

We may not be able to do 20-hour weeks like pros, but most of us can find one weekend a month to focus on cycling. My athletes do “three days of stress” consisting of intervals on Friday, a long hard group ride on Saturday, and a long easy ride on Sunday. Then they let their bodies repair. Phipps feels that one long ride most weekends and two long rides every three or four weeks can help make a successful base. He also takes advantage of holidays to get in an additional long ride.

Stress blocks

One way to produce a sufficient training stress without much intensity is to string a number of days together. Anderson and her coach use this strategy. “We’d work in pretty dense training blocks,” she said. Instead of spreading out her workouts, Anderson will do a two- or three-day training block on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Then, she’d recover and fit another two- or three-day block in over the weekend.

Quality without the high end

Base doesn’t necessarily mean no intervals. In fact, more intense training is a big part of Anderson’s base, but she understands the importance of timing. “[The] high-intensity work is definitely something that I would build into as the race season approached,” she said. Doing a few longer intervals of five to 20 minutes, twice per week, at 80 to 95 percent of threshold heart rate, is a high-quality hour without making you peak on Groundhog Day.

Trainer time

Many of us live in places where the trainer is an arranged marriage that none of us looks forward to. Anderson, who survived a few Vermont winters with the help of Netflix, avoids long base rides inside. She often saves her intervals and structured work for the trainer. “It keeps you entertained while on the trainer and provides quality training, but you don’t have to put in too many hours,” she said.

Use what’s available

If you’re scheduling dental appointments to avoid the trainer, look for other options. Phipps goes to the track. “It’s in the dark, no cars, nothing to worry about. I just put headphones on and do an hour of intensity,” he said. Phipps also hits a local spin class designed for cyclists where he can get a quality workout twice per week in 75 to 80 minutes.

Early birds

Anderson has the most success riding early, especially because many cycling communities have great morning group rides. But she admits the winters are a struggle. “It’s pretty hard to get out of bed. I do little tricks like coordinating a ride with someone the next morning at 6 a.m. so I’m held a little more accountable,” she said.

Push it back

December and January can be the toughest time of the year to train. Sometimes, no matter what you do, the time simply isn’t there. Instead of compensating with intensity, stick to the skis and running shoes and, like Phipps, “push the season back a bit.” Do your base in February and March when there’s more light and, who knows, you may be duking it out at masters nationals in September.

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Changing the Business Model: Rethinking pro cycling’s governance http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/news/changing-business-model-rethinking-pro-cyclings-governance_359508 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/news/changing-business-model-rethinking-pro-cyclings-governance_359508#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 17:36:31 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=359508

Often regarded as the true power broker in the sport, Tour de France organizer ASO may have the power to build a new structure for pro racing. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com (File).

The UCI tries to do too much, and it needs to focus on its strengths, reduce conflicts of interest, according to The Outer Line

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Often regarded as the true power broker in the sport, Tour de France organizer ASO may have the power to build a new structure for pro racing. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com (File).

Editor’s note: VeloNews contributor Steve Maxwell and his TheOuterLine.com partner Joe Harris have published a multi-part series of articles about how to improve the sport of cycling’s business foundation. This is an excerpt from the sixth and final article.

Professional road cycling has evolved slowly over the past hundred years. The current structure of major racing events and top team competition fell into place rather haphazardly over many decades, and as a result of changing economic and nationalistic factors in Western Europe. Accordingly, evolution of the sport’s governance has also been somewhat bumpy and arbitrary.

Reforms and decisions that took place in the 1980s and 1990s largely shaped today’s playing field. The calendar has expanded. The traditional cycling nations of Western Europe have seen their dominance diminished with the globalization of the peloton. Sponsors have rewritten the rules by which the sport is financed.

A frequent criticism of pro cycling is that there is insufficient strategic thinking by the leadership of the sport, and a lack of a vision of what the sport should look like in five, 10, or 20 years’ time.

In the previous articles in our “Changing the Business Model” series, we have evaluated several ways in which the sport can reinvent its financial underpinnings, racing structure, ethical, and anti-doping standards to develop new paths to sustainable profitability and greater growth. But it will be difficult to accomplish these forward steps without also changing and modernizing the governance model of the sport — the way in which pro cycling sets its rules, enforces policy, and brings all of the participants together to achieve its overall sporting and business objectives.

First, a thorough review and modernization of the UCI should be completed with recommendations for streamlining and modernizing its business operations, charter, and constitutional bylaws. The result of this exercise should be greater transparency, financial accountability, and global trust in the values and practices of a new UCI, or a “UCI-like” body.

Despite some of the positive reforms proposed or already executed by president Brian Cookson’s leadership team, there are still concerns that the UCI may no longer be the appropriate body to govern professional road racing. The range of its responsibilities is too broad, its management remains too opaque, and its organizational function — as representative, licensor, and regulator of the riders — is fraught with multiple conflicts of interest.

Second, the UCI must build stronger inter-agency agreements to resolve the historical disputes and territorial posturing between all of the agencies intertwined in the sport. Professional cycling has never really effectively policed itself. And much like any business — which should be focused on its core competency to capitalize on market opportunities — cycling should divest itself of what it is not so good at to focus on improving and optimizing what it is good at: bike racing. Too much time and effort has been spent by the UCI trying to manage aspects of the sport which other parties could handle more effectively — namely, drug testing and race promotion.

The UCI should focus on developing the riders and creating a logical competitive structure and racing calendar that encourages viewership. It should divest itself of “police work,” giving that over to the experts at the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA), or to an independent certification program. Just as importantly, it must also leave the national federations’ internal issues up to those local agencies to decide, so long as the federations abide by the spirit of the UCI’s interagency agreements.

Third, the sport needs to strengthen and align objectives between the team and race organizations. As explored earlier, the UCI must work with team and race executives to balance the racing demands and adopt mutually beneficial strategies that ensure participation, build racing viewership, and improve the competitive suspense of the annual cycling calendar.

The AIOCC — the organization representing the race organizers — already exercises a great deal of control over the sport, although it is itself dominated by the largest race representative — the Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO). Pro cycling could learn a lesson from the way that NASCAR and Formula One motor sports have consolidated television and merchandising rights into empires that build importance and suspense into every race in their calendars.

The Association International des Groupes Cyclistes Professionels (AIGCP) and the newly formed Velon organization are the groups representing the interests of the teams and team owners. While Velon’s strategy has yet to be communicated, the AIGCP has stated that cycling can only grow “if all stakeholders — including teams — have a fair and equal say in the decision-making process.” Both groups will need to work closely together to strengthen the positions of their constituent teams — and by extension, their sponsors — at the table when negotiating with the race organizers and the UCI.

Fourth, pro cycling needs to leave a place at the table for the athletes. They should build a stronger riders association or union. The existing riders group, the Cycliste Professionnels Associés (CPA), has historically been a small and relatively powerless entity — so obscure that many pro racers have never even heard of it. The legacy model of the sport treats riders as mere commodities, which by extension encourages cheating to achieve results; without those results, the rider has no value to barter.

The disparate and diverse nature of the rider population has historically been an obstacle to organization or the establishment of a single base of power. Furthermore, generally low rider salaries have meant that there was no significant funding source for an association.

A stronger union could eventually provide for the kind of collective bargaining needed to improve the safety and financial well-being of the athletes, and perhaps most overlooked — the resources, tools, and training to help riders transition to a life outside of cycling after retirement.

While the creation of a stronger riders union may initially appear to be antithetical to the interests of both the teams and the organizers, it is essential that the riders be better represented in terms of the safety, health, and economic aspects of the sport. The riders must also begin to embrace the concept they represent a valuable commodity — one which they are in effect “selling” to the team owners. The example from almost all other professional sports shows that cycling will never really be able to blossom and grow until the players understand the value of their own human capital and own their spot at the negotiating table.

Finally, It may be time to consider spinning off a separate cycling league for top-level professional racing, completely unencumbered by the current governance model. This league could be a related, but non-subsidiary group to the UCI, focused exclusively on professional road racing. This would allow cycling to take a final step toward parity with other professional leagues and team sports.

There is also one other potential path which could bypass the UCI altogether. Over the past 15 years, ASO has gradually consolidated many of the major racing events, and has solidified its position and power as the chief policy driver in the sport. As many have pointed out, as the ASO goes, so goes the overall sport. If it were to acquire the RCS Sport events, it would control the majority of key events and broadcast rights in the sport.

A new racing league could be structured around the grand tours, unencumbered by Olympic obligations, with affiliated one-day and classics races and a competitive structure to drive viewership and investment.

Far-fetched perhaps, but should ASO decide to go this direction, a true professional league could emerge and grow. And there is a very relevant precedent – Bernie Ecclestone’s wresting control of Formula 1 auto racing away from individual race organizers many years ago to transform it into the global brand that it is today.

This sport cannot be governed forever as one branch of a tree that is unable to support its entire weight. In the future, and as the sport grows, pro cycling will truly deserve its own dedicated governing body, committed to implementing a new business model for long-term financial stability.

Read more >>

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Valverde kicks off 2015 race season in Mallorca http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/news/valverde-kicks-2015-race-season-mallorca_359500 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/news/valverde-kicks-2015-race-season-mallorca_359500#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 16:10:07 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=359500

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) will kick off the 2015 race season at the Challenge Ciclista Mallorca. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com (File).

Alejandro Valverde, Dan Martin, and Andre Greipel will all begin their 2015 race seasons in Mallorca Spain's four-day event

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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) will kick off the 2015 race season at the Challenge Ciclista Mallorca. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com (File).

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), who finished 2014 at the top of the UCI WorldTour rankings, will start his season Thursday in Mallorca, Spain at the Challenge Ciclista Mallorca. The 34-year-old will be joined by other notables, such as Lotto-Soudal’s André Greipel.

“It would be nice to get our first victory of the season in Mallorca,” said Lotto-Soudal sports director Bart Leysen. “The riders know the Spanish roads well because of their training camps. The first and last day are suited for our sprinters André Greipel and Jens Debusschere. Greipel didn’t start his season, for the first time in seven years, in the Tour Down Under. So he is extremely motivated to get his first victory of the season in Mallorca.”

Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) and Dan Martin (Cannondale-Garmin) are also expected to start their racing seasons in Mallorca.

The second day of racing, Friday, may suit a rider like Valverde or Martin, as it finishes on a steep climb that ramps up to 10 percent at some points. Stage 3 is also quite hilly, with three second-category climbs.

The four-day event in Mallorca does not award a GC prize and is not a stage race, which may encourage more aggressive racing. Riders are not required to race each day, and teams may field different eight-man squads day-by-day — essentially, the event is four one-day races held in the same region.

Challenge Ciclista Mallorca

Thursday, January 29: Trofeo Santanyí-Ses Salines-Campos (175.5km)
Friday, January 30: Trofeo Andratx – Mirador d’Es Colomer (149km)
Saturday, January 31: Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana. Valldemoosa-Deià (165.7km)
Sunday, February 1: Trofeo Playa de Palma – Palma (168.2km)

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Teams lining up to sign Colombian sprinter Fernando Gaviria http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/news/teams-lining-up-to-sign-colombian-sprinter-fernando-gaviria_359487 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/news/teams-lining-up-to-sign-colombian-sprinter-fernando-gaviria_359487#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 13:54:48 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=359487

Fernando Gaviria (right) beat Mark Cavendish twice in a sprint finish at the Tour de San Luis last week. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

The 20-year-old beat Mark Cavendish in two sprint stages at last week's Tour de San Luis

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Fernando Gaviria (right) beat Mark Cavendish twice in a sprint finish at the Tour de San Luis last week. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

MILAN (VN) — The strength to beat Mark Cavendish, the ability to bring points, and the advantage of youth has teams lining up outside Fernando Gaviria’s door. Ag2r-La Mondiale and Etixx-Quick-Step, the latter being Cavendish’s team, reportedly have already spoken with the 20-year-old Colombian about his 2015 plans.

“I’m dreaming of racing the Tour de France and racing more on the road,” Gaviria told Ciclismo Internacional.

“I’m going to have to wait until next year because I want to fulfill my commitment with team Coldeportes.”

His contract with the amateur Coldeportes-Claro team extends through 2015, but he made international headlines racing in the white colors of Colombia’s national team last week.

Gaviria shot ahead of cycling’s sprint king Cavendish in the first stage of Tour de San Luis in Villa Mercedes last week. He repeated the feat, winning with a larger advantage over Cavendish on then next sprint opportunity, stage 3. On the third occasion, stage 7, he pushed Cavendish to the last meter but ended up taking second.

Cavendish had no idea who Gaviria was before stage 1, but quickly studied his rival.

“Being able to sprint from a distance like that is a sign of a track rider. It’s very impressive,” Cavendish explained in a press release.

“It’s important to anticipate his sprint and do the job before he does.”

France’s L’Equipe newspaper reported that Ag2r sport director Arturas Kasputis met with Gaviria, Belgium’s Het Nieuwsblad said Etixx sport director Davide Bramati visited Gaviria’s hotel, and Gaviria himself explained that five ProTeams asked about his 2015 plans.

Gaviria would present a golden opportunity for any team because of his speed and his potential. Given his age (20), a top-tier team would have time to develop him and provide a supporting leadout train that could dominate races in a similar way HTC-Highroad did with Cavendish.

Cycling’s top sprinters include Cavendish, Marcel Kittel (Giant-Alpecin), André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal), Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge, Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo), and Alexander Kristoff (Katusha). Australian Matthews and Frenchman Bouhanni are the youngest of the lot, but still four years older than Gaviria.

Only Australian Caleb Ewan comes close to Gaviria in terms of age (20) and speed. Orica signed him last year and already this season, he has won three criteriums in Australia and finished second in the national championships behind Heinrich Haussler (IAM Cycling).

Gaviria’s home is in La Ceja in west-central Colombia at 2,200 meters abve sea level, but his speed comes from the track. He won the Madison and Omnium titles at the 2012 junior world championships. He took home the Ominum title from the London World Cup in December.

He is aiming for another gold medal in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, which means any potential ProTeam will have to work around his track program.

“But I prefer the road,” Gaviria said. “I want to win stages and one-day races.”

After the upcoming UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Paris, scheduled for February 18-22, Gaviria will continue his road season at the Under-23 Tour of Colombia, the Tour de L’Avenir, and the UCI Road World Championships in Richmond, Virginia. However, with two San Luis sprint wins over Cavendish, the ProTeams will not let him out of their sights.

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VeloNews seeking an Editor in Chief, based in Boulder, Colorado http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/news/velonews-seeking-editor-chief-based-boulder-colorado_359481 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/news/velonews-seeking-editor-chief-based-boulder-colorado_359481#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 04:41:02 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=359481

Like any job — but perhaps amplified — cycling journalism has its pros and cons. Photo by Tim De Waele.

Candidates must have experience in writing, editing, and project management, as well as a firm understanding of the sport of professional

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Like any job — but perhaps amplified — cycling journalism has its pros and cons. Photo by Tim De Waele.

VeloNews is seeking an Editor in Chief to oversee its principal brands, Velo magazine and VeloNews.com. The position is based in Boulder, Colorado.

Candidates must have well-established experience in writing, editing, and timely project management, as well as a firm understanding of all aspects of the sport of professional cycling.

The Editor in Chief is responsible for brand vision, direction, strategy, and financial performance. The EIC also oversees the coordination, organization, control and completion of all aspects of editorial production, from raw material to finished publication, by maintaining effective communication among the editorial, design, production, and ad sales departments.

Minimum skills required include a B.A. or advanced degree in journalism or related field, or equivalent work experience and working knowledge of Word, Excel, and InDesign.

Essential skills include project management, attention to detail, communication, creativity, people skills, multitasking, and decision making, all within a deadline-driven environment.

In addition, the ideal candidate is intimately familiar with acronyms/abbreviations such as UCI, USAC, ASO, WADA, CIRC, IMBA, HRM, LBS, TT, KPH, OTB, JRA and, of course, DFL.

Company: Competitor Group, Inc.
Position Title: Editor in Chief, VeloNews
Reports To: Group Publisher
Location: Boulder, Colorado

The Company: Headquartered in San Diego, Calif., Competitor Group, Inc. (CGI) is the active lifestyle industry’s leading media and event entertainment company. CGI owns and operates endurance events around the world, including the flagship Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series. Anchoring the company with rich content and marketing leverage are four publishing properties dedicated to running, cycling, triathlon and the world of multisport including VeloNews, Triathlete, Women’s Running, and Competitor, with a combined monthly circulation of more than 700,000.

The Brand: Publishers of the official North American guide to the Tour de France, VeloNews delivers the most authentic and authoritative editorial in the cycling industry, to a qualified and influential audience. VeloNews has a 43-year history of delivering compelling content that informs and entertains cycling enthusiasts worldwide. VeloNews reaches serious enthusiasts — past, present, and future — as well as the retailers, suppliers, and service providers who are at the leading edge of competitive cycling. Online since 1994, VeloNews.com delivers the most timely, trusted cycling content on the web.

Position Summary: Provide leadership, editorial vision, and direction for the brand across all platforms — print, digital, video, and mobile. Establish and build upon a defined content strategy aligned with business goals and the needs of the audience. Oversee production and design of magazine, as well as daily online presence. Oversee staffing matters for content and design. Serve as spokesperson for the brand to the audience, advertising community and cycling community.

Basic Responsibilities:
• Establish and execute on VeloNews brand’s editorial mission
• Create and implement content guidelines aligned with editorial mission and business goals
• Determine content strategy for print and digital platforms, with the goal of expanding readership, growing community, increasing web traffic, and increasing revenue
• Set high standards for all content; oversee all assigning, editing, and writing
• Oversee day-to-day operating procedures, including scheduling, budgets, and production matters.
• Maintain ultimate responsibility for setting, enforcing, and meeting deadlines.
• Represent the brand from an editorial standpoint at industry functions.
• Provide editorial input in development of ad sales strategy and marketing collateral and strategies.
• Manage a cohesive content team that is motivated, collaborative and works toward the same goals.
• Conceive of partnership ideas for sharing of content and other ways to maximize audience reach
• Expand the audience reach while preserving the brand’s dedicated core subscribers

Requirements:
B.A. in journalism or related field
Five years experience working in print and/or digital media
Deep understanding of professional cycling

Profile of Ideal Candidate:
• Strong leadership qualities — able to articulate vision
• Strong digital content leader — web, tablet, social, video, etc.
• Strong content editor and writer
• Superb editorial instincts
• Extensive people management experience
• Strong process management experience
• Problem solver and solution focused; proactive in experimenting and can take responsibility for results
• Confident, with strength of conviction, but flexible
• Energetic, passionate, yet sensitive toward others

Key Contacts:
Kurt Hoy SVP, Group Publisher
Neal Rogers Editor in Chief, VeloNews
Dianne St. John VP, Human Resources

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Craddock heading home after nasty TDU crash http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/news/craddock-heading-home-nasty-tdu-crash_359473 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/news/craddock-heading-home-nasty-tdu-crash_359473#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 21:53:02 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=359473

Giant-Alpecin's Lawson Craddock crashed hard in stage 4 of the Tour Down Under. After spending several days in the hospital, he's headed home to the U.S. to recover. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Lawson Craddock is banged up after a nasty crash Tour Down Under but happy to be heading home to recover after a rough start to the season

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Giant-Alpecin's Lawson Craddock crashed hard in stage 4 of the Tour Down Under. After spending several days in the hospital, he's headed home to the U.S. to recover. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Lawson Craddock (Giant-Alpecin) is heading home following three nights in an Australian hospital recovering from a harrowing crash in stage 4 at the Santos Tour Down Under.

The 22-year-old Texan crashed heavily Friday in the early kilometers of the stage, just as the peloton was picking up speed and coming over some rollers as the day’s main breakaway was forming.

In a freak accident, Craddock evidently punctured his front tire, then bounded into a drainage ditch, with his front wheel collapsing, sending him catapulting over his handlebars. One rider who saw the crash said, “It looked real nasty. I could see him flying over his bike.” Craddock suffered a broken wrist, rib, and sternum, injuries that kept him in the hospital for observation for three days.

In an email to VeloNews, Craddock said he was due to fly back to Texas overnight Tuesday.

“I’ve definitely been better. I spent three days in the hospital before finally getting released,” Craddock wrote. “I should arrive [home] tomorrow night, and then I’ll start the long road to recovery. Hopefully, it shouldn’t be too bad.”

Team doctors still are not sure how long it will take before Craddock can return to training and racing. Speaking to VeloNews earlier in the Tour Down Under, the second-year pro outlined ambitious goals for the 2015 season, including an increased focus on one-week races and a return to the Amgen Tour of California, where he was third overall last year.

“It’s hard losing a teammate during a race, when he’s sleeping alone at a hospital, not sure when he can go home,” said Giant-Alpecin teammate Koen de Kort. “With a broken sternum, everything hurts, including breathing.”

Despite the severity of his injuries, team officials were quietly breathing a sigh of relief, especially after hearing more details of the crash.

“Any crash can be dangerous, and from the sounds of it, this could have been even worse,” said Giant-Alpecin sport director Addy Engels. “He’s young, so he has a lot of time to recover. There is no pressure to return. The most important thing is that he becomes healthy again.”

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Gallery: Limited-edition Eddy Merckx Eddy70 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/gallery/gallery-limited-edition-eddy-merckx-eddy70_359457 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/01/gallery/gallery-limited-edition-eddy-merckx-eddy70_359457#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 20:00:00 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=359457

To celebrate Merckx's 70th birthday, his bicycle brand is unveiling a $17,500 steel bike outfitted with Campagnolo Super Record

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