|Saxo-Tinkoff and Anfi Group Continue Partnership in 2013
Team Saxo-Tinkoff and one of Europe's leading Vacation Membership companies, Anfi Group, have announced that their partnership will continue in 2013. Anfi Group and Saxo-Tinkoff have agreed to continue the two-pronged partnership that started last year. The partnership is a traditional sponsorship agreement, but Anfi Group will also play host to two of Team Saxo-Tinkoff's team camps in 2013, at one of Anfi Group’s leading luxury resorts at Gran Canaria. Team Saxo-Tinkoff have sent teams to both the Tour Down Under and the Tour de San Luis this month, with Alberto Contador launching his season at the Argentinian race.
BMC Kick-Off 2013 with the Tour de San Luis
BMC Racing Team's Thor Hushovd and Tejay van Garderen said they will take similar approaches to their season-opening race, the Tour de San Luis, which starts this Monday. Van Garderen, the best young rider at last year's Tour de France, said the combination of warm weather, a 19.2-kilometer time trial and several challenging mountain stages is a good way to ease into the season. "I'll definitely go full gas in the time trial," he said, "but really this is more to get some racing kilometers in the legs. " Hushovd raced fewer than three dozen times last year due to a virus and muscle inflammation. The former world road champion said he is also anxious to test himself. "First I would like to get back to race speed since I haven't been racing for half a year," he said. "Also, now I'm motivated and hungry to compete, I would like to get a result if I have the form."
BMC Racing Team, who have recently announced that amongst their official suppliers for 2013 will be 3T and Pearl Izumi, are looking forward to a competitive race. Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said ‘there's an impressive field, with Contador, Nibali, Sagan, and even Mark Cavendish for the sprints. So already there are expectations on the general classification because there are guys there who are potential Tour or Giro or Vuelta winners.” Helping van Garderen in the mountain stages will be Mathias Frank and newcomer Dominik Nerz, whilst Hushovd, another newcomer, Daniel Oss, and Manuel Quinziato will use the race to prepare for the classics.
The BMC Racing Team, which features reigning world road champion Philippe Gilbert, were presented last Friday at the new BMC Concept Store in Eke, Belgium. Along with Van Garderen, BMC also had Cadel Evans in the top 10 at the 2012 Tour de France, although the duo will be on different race programs for much of the season.
President and General Manager of BMC, Jim Ochowicz, gave an indication of where the team’s priorities lie in 2013, saying that “One of the places we wanted to find success was in the classics and we not yet won a classic in the spring. I think that is still a goal that we need to attain.” Lelangue added that in Hushovd, Gilbert, Taylor Phinney and Greg van Avermaet, BMC “have a strong classics team. We have strong leaders for those kinds of races and we have a strong support and back-up team when you think about people like Marcus Burghardt, Michael Schär, Quinziato (and) Oss. Plus, there will be different objectives for each of them.” Gilbert is anticipated to target the Ardennes Classics and the Tour of Flanders, with Hushovd lined up to be team leader at Paris-Roubaix.
BMC Racing Team Rider Roster:
Alessandro Ballan (ITA), Adam Blythe (GBR), Brent Bookwalter (USA), Marcus Burghardt (GER), Stephen Cummings (GBR), Yannick Eijssen (BEL), Cadel Evans (AUS), Mathias Frank (BEL), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Thor Hushovd (NOR), Martin Kohler (SUI), Sebastian Lander (DEN), Klaas Lodewyck (BEL), Amaël Moinard (FRA), Steve Morabito (SUI), Dominik Nerz (GER), Daniel Oss (ITA), Taylor Phinney (USA), Marco Pinotti (ITA), Manuel Quinziato (ITA), Ivan Santaromita (ITA), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Tejay van Garderen (USA), Larry Warbasse (USA), Danilo Wyss (SUI).
UCI Launch Anti-Doping Helpline
The International Cycling Union (UCI) launched its 24-hour confidential anti-doping helpline for professional riders on January 16th. The free helpline takes calls in English and French, and is for use by all athletes in the UCI Registered Testing Pool as well as any professional cyclists taking part in UCI competitions.
An outside organization has been mandated to handle the process to guarantee strict confidentiality. It guarantees that all calls can also be made anonymously at any time, and any day of the week, which is in line with the recommendation of the Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA).
The calls will be recorded and, depending on their nature, forwarded to specialists in the legal, anti-doping and medical fields, who will decide what follow-up action should be taken. The helpline will operate under the supervision of UCI Management Committee Member Mr Peder Pedersen. Athletes can call the helpline if for example they are being pressured to dope, if they have participated in organised doping, or if they know or suspect doping activities are taking place.
UCI President Mr Pat McQuaid urged professional riders to make use of the helpline: “The integrity of cycling is at stake. We have established this helpline to encourage the sport’s professionals to come forward and reveal, in the strictest confidence, anything they know about doping practices within the peloton.”
Theo Bos designated Blanco’s sprinter at the Tour de Langkawi
The newly named and re-branded Blanco Pro Cycling Team, known as Rabobank since 1996, will make its first appearance at Le Tour de Langkawi from February 21 to March 2nd. The Dutch squad has set its sights on bunch sprint finishes, as they travel to Asia with Theo Bos and lead-out man Graeme Brown. “I see Le Tour de Langkawi as a good opportunity to get our sprint train on track”, Bos explained, “doing sprints, getting experience, learning from mistakes… This race will be perfect because there are a lot of sprint stages.”
Theo Bos (Blanco Pro Cycling Team). Photo © Blnaco Cycling Team
By selecting Jetse Bol, Tom Leezer, Marc Goos and Jos van Emden alongside Bos and Brown, the Blanco Pro Cycling Team has sent a signal to the rest of the field that they intend to compete strongly in the eight stages expected to culminate in a bunch gallop.
Bos, a five times world champion on the track, collected seven victories in Europe last year including at the Dwars Door Drenthe, Tour of Turkey and Eneco Tour. “This is a new start for the former Rabobank’’ said the dutchman, ‘’There are some new influences in the team, new staff members, new sports directors…, other ideas. The team focus on sprints is getting bigger and bigger. I really enjoy that. I hope it will bear fruit!”
The 2.HC classified 2013 edition of the Tour de Langkawi, will officially begin in Kangar, Malaysia, on February 21 comprising 10 stages, covering 1469.7 kilometres.
Omega-Pharma QuickStep Present their Team at the Eddy Merckx Velodrome in Spectacular Fashion
On the 15th of January, OPQS presented their 2013 team to sponsors, supporters and the media in an innovative format. The Belgian squad are seeking to build on their impressive 2012 in which they netted 60 victories, including the World Time Trial Championships with Tony Martin. The most notable addition to OPQS for 2013 is Mark Cavendish, who will undoubtedly contribute handsomely to OPQS’ victory statistics.
"When Patrick Lefevere talked with me about the arrival of Cavendish, I was immediately happy about it" Classics specialist Tom Boonen said, "I knew the skills of Mark and how strong he is. I think this year we can also collaborate well in a few races, such as Milan San Remo, or races where either one of us could go for the victory. I will try to do my best at Paris-Roubaix or Ronde Van Vlaanderen, and maybe other big races. But this presentation is not just about my goals. This presentation is about the great team I am surrounded with, including the riders, staff, and sponsors."
The OPQS Team at the Eddy Merckx Velodrome. Photo © Omega Pharma Quick Step
"I'd like for OPQS to be at the top of the world rankings," Lefevere said. "This means all of our riders reach their goals. We want to get to within the top three of the WorldTour rankings, as we were already 4th in 2012."
After the riders met the press, it was time for OPQS to prepare for the innovative track racing format presentation that was broadcast on TV channel Sport 10 in Belgium, and live on the team website. After the early interviews, it was time for an exciting night of racing amongst the riders. Iljo Keisse, winner of the OPQS Derny race, said “It is really fantastic to do the presentation on the track. Track is really the foundation of cycling and I think the fans will appreciate it."
Perhaps the most anticipated battle of the night was the Individual Sprint final, which came down to Cavendish and Boonen. The two battled neck-and-neck in the final stretch, but it was Boonen who managed to get the win, although Cav took revenge in the Team Sprint, raising his hands on crossing the finish line as the final rider of his victorious mini-team. The sight of the Manxman’s arms aloft in celebration will be one that fans of OPQS will hope to get used to. "For me, Omega Pharma - Quick-Step is the most traditional team out there, with the most historical roots," said Cavendish, “this team is steeped in the culture of cycling. To be a part of this dynasty is something. I am so excited for this opportunity."
Argos-Shimano Launch Their 2013 Squad
The 2013 Argos-Shimano team was recently unveiled at Alicante in Spain’s Altea Hills, site of the team’s winter training camp on the warm and sunny Mediterranean coast. Both the men’s and women’s riders will once again race Felt F-series and DA-series bikes throughout the season, with 13 different nationalities represented across the two squads.
After a highly successful 2012 season which saw John Degenkolb win 12 races, including five stages in the Vuelta a España, and Marcel Kittel collect 13 wins, the team was chosen by the UCI to make the jump up to World Tour status. “This World Tour license is a reward for the combination of a strong group of riders and innovative coaching staff who have managed to get into the World Tour through their own efforts,” said the team’s general manager Iwan Spekenbrink. “It’s greatly satisfying to work with a team that’s growing mainly through developing itself.”
The 2013 Argos Shimano team. Photo © Argos Shimano
The ages of the 28 riders on the men’s team make Argos-Shimano the youngest team in the World Tour and Spekenbrink said he expects continued growth for his squad in 2013. Spekenbrink also credited the team’s sponsors, including Felt, for the team’s development, saying, “They have enabled us to achieve this and really believe in using a sustainable policy like ours in building a top sporting organization.”
Argos-Shimano’s season gets underway with the Santos Tour Down Under in Australia.
Men: Warren Barguil, Thomas Damuseau, Yann Huguet, Thierry Hupond, Matthieu Sprick (FRA), Nikias Arndt, John Degenkolb, Johannes Fröhlinger, Simon Geschke, Patrick Gretsch, Marcel Kittel (GER), Roy Curvers, Tom Dumoulin, Koen de Kort, Ramon Sinkeldam, Tom Stamsnijder, Albert Timmer, Tom Veelers (NED), Tobias Ludvigsson, Jonas Ahlstrand (SWE), Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (RSA), Luka Mezgec (SLO), Tom Peterson (USA), Cheng Ji (CHN), François Parisien (CAN), Bert de Backer (BEL), Georg Preidler (AUT), Will Clarke (AUS).
Women: Charlotte Becker, Elke Gebhardt, Marlen Jöhrend (GER), Janneke Busser, Willeke Knol, Kelly Markus, Amy Pieters, Esra Tromp, Kirsten Wild (NED), Lucy Garner (GBR).
New Lampre bike manufacturer take first win
The 15th of January brought a milestone in the development of Taiwanese bike firm Merida. The first victory for a Merida bike ridden by a World Tour cyclist occurred in the second stage of the Tropicale Amissa Bongo in the shape of Andrea Palini of Team Lampre-Merida. The young Italian cyclist, won the bunch sprint and he became also the new leader of the overall classification in the team’s first African race for 20 years.
Clad in the new 2013 Champion System manufactured team jersey, with green added to the renowned fuchsia and blue combination, Palini announced "this is a very important victory for me, it's so important to start in a winning way. I also appreciated the joy of a victory in such unconventional cycling atmosphere. I'm proud to be the first riders to win on a Merida bike".
Meanwhile, Palini’s Lampre colleague, Damiano Cunego, took part at the presentation of the leaders jerseys for the 2013 Giro d'Italia. The presentation of the maglia rosa, and its blue, red and white classification counterparts took place in Milan, in the show-room of the British designer and cycling fan Paul Smith, who designed the jerseys for Giro. "Giro d'Italia jerseys and especially pink jersey are neverending symbols and are dreams for every young kid that begins to pedal on a bike. I had the honour to wear the pink jersey and to win Giro: they are among the top moments of my career", Cunego commented.
Team Colombia hoping for Vuelta Invite
The new edition of the Vuelta a Espana will take place from August 24th to September 15th, 2013, and – as widely predicted – features a very demanding route, including no less than 11 uphill finishes. Just a few days after the official announcement of the first Team Colombia’s invitation to a Grand Tour – the upcoming Giro d’Italia – Valerio Tebaldi, General Manager of the Pro Continental outfit, expressed Team Colombia’s desire to make an appearance at two grand tours this season. “We all know how important Grand Tours are to the Colombian audience as well as to our project: the 2013 Giro d’Italia invitation brought more notoriety and prestige to our team, and we are looking forward to get on the road to show that we deserve it,” Tebaldi explained.
The new Vuelta route has a definite sting in the tail to compound the exertions of three weeks racing, with the feared uphill finish of the Angliru completing the penultimate stage. Tebaldi has warned that “the stages finishing in Andorra-Collada de la Gallina and Peyragudes are (also) very tough mountain stages, with huge altitudes. (In addition to the Angliru)They could be suited for Colombians…”
Champion System Pro Cycling Team Launches 2013 Squad
The Champion System Pro Cycling Team got its 2013 season underway last Friday with a team launch at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California. A 22-rider roster was revealed featuring five current national champions from Canada, China, Ireland, Japan and South Korea, the Irish national champion being former HTC rider Matt Brammeier. In all, the second-year squad has riders from 14 different countries, making it one of the most internationally diverse team in professional cycling.
"In our inaugural season last year, we accomplished our goal of making the dream of having the first Asian-based pro cycling team a reality," Champion System General Manager Ed Beamon said. "Our 2013 team is more mature and we have raised the bar in terms of our expectations of the riders and our goals. Each rider has been hand-picked not only for his ability to perform on the bike, but also for his ability to adapt to our multi-cultural roster.”
The 2013 Champion Systems Team launch. Photo © Champion Systems
Scott Kaylin, one of the founders of Champion System, said the Chinese-registered team will certainly build on a successful inaugural season that saw it win five races as it competed on several continents. “Our passion for cycling is what started Champion System and that same passion led to the creation of the Champion System Pro Cycling Team," Kaylin said. "From that first moment, we knew our team was creating history and there could only be one Asian pro cycling team that could lay claim to being the first. In a short time, the team has already showcased our company and brand to a worldwide audience. Now we're aiming for higher goals in 2013."
Meyer admits to track cycling goals
Despite his development into one of Australia's top road cyclists, Cameron Meyer admits to some unfinished business on the track. The 24-year-old displayed his talent last week when by staging a solo breakaway to win the men's elite criterium at the Australian road championships. It was his third senior road title, to go with his six world track titles and the overall win in the 2011 Tour Down.
At last season’s world track championships in Melbourne, Meyer took the points race, but pulled out of the Olympic track squad soon after. Meyer said the decision to take the points and madison events out of the Games program for London swayed his thinking. Given the success of track cycling at the London Games, Meyer has his fingers crossed that his favourite races will return to the Olympics program during his career, "It was very hard for me to make a decision," he said. "Once those events were taken out, I just felt within myself that I was losing a bit of passion for the track and my ambitions there. Maybe in a couple of years' time, if it came back in Rio, I may be back ... it's the one thing on my track CV that's not ticked off yet."
Charity Ride for a Worthy Cause
The Dawn Farm Ride for Recovery is a family fun and fitness event and a fundraiser for the Dawn Farm charity. There will be bike rides, runs and walks with opportunities to participate at various fitness levels, including rides from 10K to 100K at the fourth annual event. Routes are along scenic, country roads and through a local Metro park. There will be five rest stops positioned along the routes, with restroom facilities, drinks, snacks and first aid. Children of participants can enjoy activities in the Dawn Farm Community Barn and all are welcome to enjoy a tour of the 63 acre working farm and visit the farm animals. All rides, jogs, and walks start and end at Dawn Farm in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
In addition to a fun fitness event that the entire family can enjoy, the Ride for Recovery provides an opportunity to support a critical community service. Dawn Farm provides effective, compassionate and hope-filled professional care to people with addictions regardless of their ability to pay. Community support for events like the Ride for Recovery helps to keep these vital services available for those who need them most!
Registration costs $25.00 until April 1, 2013; costing $30.00 after that date. Registration will also be available on site starting at 7:00 on the day of the event. Participants can register (and fundraise) online at www.firstgiving.com/dawnfarm (or see the registration form on Dawn Farm’s web site: http://www.dawnfarm.org/upcomingevents/ride-for-recovery.) Fundraising is appreciated but optional.