|Latest from Lampre-Merida
General Manager of Lampre-Merida, Giuseppe Saronni, has signed an agreement that will link his team to the youth sports group C.C. Cremonese 1891 Arvedi. In the early stages of the deal, the WorldTour team will support the management and the staff of Cremonese’s ten-strong junior team, assisting with technical direction, logistics and the supply of equipment. “It’s in the team tradition (to) care for young riders and it’s important to constantly increase this commitment,” Saronni explained, “that’s why we decided to make a co-operation that could give the chance of improvement to a group of young athletes.” The managers of C.C. Cremonese 1891 Arvedi, Rossano Grazioli and Italo Carotti, said “our cyclists will have the chance to make use of the skills and of the experience of such top team. We’re sure it will be important in increasing the quality of the riders and of our team. We thank Giuseppe Saronni and the whole Team Lampre-Merida”.
The WorldTour team are currently engaged in Argentina’s Tour de San Luis, the Italian team’s first foray into South America. The inclusion of Maximiliano Richeze and Kristijan Durasek in the roster for the UCI 2.1 Category race is a milestone in the cosmopolitan make-up of the team as it will be the first time that an Argentinean or Croatian has donned the fuchsia lycra synonymous with Saronni’s squad. The Italian squad have also proudly announced another first for the team, as the majority of the squad were based in the Southern Hemisphere for the first time ever in the team’s 20-year history, with 19 riders split between Argentina, Australia and Gabon as the Tour de San Luis, Tour Down Under and Tropicale Amissa Bongo were simultaneously in flux.
For 2013, Lampre will be provided with Sidi Cycling shoes, after entering into a partnership with Sidi Sport. The feet of Damiano Cunego, Filippo Pozzato, Alessandro Petacchi, Michele Scarponi, and Diego Ulissi among others will be adorned by Sidi Sport’s latest high end model, the Sidi Wire in a colour scheme designed to match the team’s jerseys. The team also join Orica-GreenEdge in using Scicon bike bags for the season.
Bianchi Expand Their Business
Bicycle manufacturers Bianchi have recently decided to invest in the growth of its cycling parts and accessories business. As a part of this new strategy, Bianchi announced last Thursday that they have made an agreement to acquire Alpen By Verza Srl, a firm based in Vicenza, Italy. Alpen By Verza Srl have been internationally active in the parts and accessories market for over thirty years. The agreement will result in the creation of a new company Alpen Srl, a wholly owned subsidiary of F.I.V. Edoardo Bianchi S.p.A. which will benefit from all of the synergies that come with being a part of the world’s oldest bicycle manufacturer’s corporate environment.
The new company will continue with the distribution of all products previously handled by Alpen By Verza Srl, such as Velomann bicycle computers. The newly formed Alpen Srl will also develop new products to meet the growing demand of high performance quality components coming from cycling enthusiasts. “This is an important, forward-looking transaction to grow our company that further confirms the renewed strength of Fiv Edoardo Bianchi,” said a satisfied Salvatore Grimaldi, the Chairman of Bianchi. The new company will absorb the current workforce of Alpen By Verza Srl and will continue to operate in its historical headquarters in Vicenza.
RadioShack Ready for 2013
RadioShack Leopard-Trek have added four new riders to their roster for 2013, whilst Luca Guercilena has taken over from Johan Bruyneel as general manager. Speaking at last week’s team launch in Benidorm, Guercilena stated that the team are looking to return to winning ways by getting their riders to maximise their abilities during season the. “It will be a pleasure to help these riders achieve their goals as we strive to succeed as a team,” he said.
One such rider looking forward to a return to winning ways is Fabian Cancellara. A crash kept the Swiss champion from participating in his beloved Paris-Roubaix in 2012, making the goal to win a third Roubaix all the more tantalizing. “I can’t wait to be back there in the heat of battle once again,” said the Swiss, “I’ve worked so hard during my winter training and I’m certain that with some luck I can get back into the best possible race rhythm.”
Stage races will make up a substantial part of the team goals, with Andy Schleck, Chris Horner, Andreas Klöden and Robert Kišerlovski expected to shine as the gradients incease. May’s Amgen Tour of California will be a top priority for the American sponsors and past winner Horner hopes to deliver a top podium place again in 2013. “We have started the season well, with Hayden Roulston becoming the new Road Champion of New Zealand. We hope there are many more victories to come” Guercilena concluded.
The team announced three new partnerships for the season at the launch; watch brand Anonimo, car manufacturer Skoda, and Gaerne cycling shoes. A further partnership is set to be announced in spring.
22 Teams Set to Participate in Le Tour de Langkawi
Five WorldTour teams will be amongst the squads participating in the 18th edition of Le Tour de Langkawi, which is set to take place from February 21 to March 2nd. “Our event didn’t reach that number of teams representing the World Tour since 2007”, noted the Malaysian race’s chief operating officer Emir Abdul Jalal, “added to the quality of Pro Continental teams like Europcar coming with Pierre Rolland, we clearly have the best start list of the past decade. Now it’s up to the cyclists to deliver the show and to the riders of lower leveled teams to challenge the stars of the Pro Teams.”
Among the 5 WorldTour squads, Garmin-Sharp and Astana are returning for their second years in succession. Astana’s links with the race goes as far back as in 1997 when Alexandre Vinokourov took part as a member of the Kazakh national team and got noticed in Malaysia by European scouts. Meanwhile, the 2007 race was the first appearance at the .HC level of Slipstream Sport when they joined the Pro Continental ranks. They have only missed one edition since, and in their present guise as Garmin-Sharp, their affiliation looks set to continue.
“While in the past it was up to us to contact the teams, some of them have questioned us about their possible participation to our race this year,” revealed Jalal, “we’re delighted with the field we’ll be able to present to Malaysian fans.” The UCI 2.HC classified race comprises 10 stages, covering 1469.7 kilometres. The 18th edition of the race is marked by a challenging route which features two tough climbing stages in the Cameron and Genting Highlands. The other WorldTour teams set to be on the startline are Orica-GreenEdge, Blanco Pro Cycling and Omega Pharma-QuickStep.
Champion System Team Training Camp Deemed A Success
Volume and intensity were the focus of the Champion System Pro Cycling Team during two weeks of training in the Agoura Hills of Southern California. 22 riders enjoyed mild January conditions as they built-up preseason mileage and broke in their new Fuji racing bikes during four-to-seven-hour training rides. “We got the bulk of the administrative stuff done early on so we could concentrate a little more on training in the second week,” Champion System General Manager Ed Beamon said.
During the camp, riders underwent medical examinations, stress testing and bike fittings. Retül 3D Motion Capture Bike Fit Systems were on-site for the fittings. On training rides, the team was split into different squads to allow for customized programs between groups. “We had the chance to do specific work with our Qatar and Oman squad, Langkawi squad and then get a good look at the rest," Beamon said.
A late signee to the team, Canadian Zach Bell, made his first appearance with the team while in California. The 30-year-old arrives from Team SpiderTech. The majority of Bell’s palmarès have been on the track, where the two-time Olympian has twice been runner-up at the UCI world track championships in the omnium. “It is really exciting to have this late addition to the squad," Beamon said. "Zach looks really fit and ready to tackle the road full-time."
Team Colombia’s Final Training Camp is This Week
Team Colombia named Arco, near Lake Garda in Northern Italy, as the location for their final training camp prior to them starting their season. The whole team roster is set to attend the camp, which will be held from January 28th until the 31st. The training camp in Arco will mark the first stint with the Team for new-signing Leonardo Duque. The experienced rider could not take part in December’s Colombia-based camp after the birth of his son Eduardo; the attacking rider and former Vuelta a Espana Stage winner is reportedly ‘looking forward to getting into the Team Colombia environment.’
To end the 4-day camp, ‘Los Escarabajos’ will make their first reconnaissance of 2013 Giro d’Italia route, where they will practice the 19.4km stage 17 uphill time trial from Mori to Polsa. Whilst all of the teams at the Giro d’Italia will use converted road bikes for the Stage 17 time trial to minimize the weight they need haul uphill, for the more conventional time trials of 2013, Team Colombia have announced that they will be riding the Willier Triestina Zero7 time trial bike. The official debut for this bike, whose colour scheme is modeled on the flag of Colombia, is set to be February 7th, with the second stage of the Tour of Mediterranean being a 24 km team time trial.
UCI: Anti-Doping Latest
The UCI have responded to Lance Armstrong’s interview with Oprah Winfrey and have ‘welcomed his decision to come clean and confess to using performance enhancing drugs.’ UCI President Pat McQuaid said that “Lance Armstrong’s decision to confront his past is an important step forward to repairing the damage that has been caused to cycling. Lance confirmed there was no collusion or conspiracy (with the UCI).” McQuaid noted the confession ‘disturbing,’ whilst drawing an optimistic reference to Armstrong’s positive comments regarding the introduction of the biological passport in 2008. McQuaid added that the UCI would ‘welcome’ the American’s involvement in a truth and reconciliation process.
Veritable evidence of the biological passport in operation has come with the news that the UCI has asked the Belgian National Cycling Federation to instigate a disciplinary procedure against Leif Hoste on the basis of an apparent anti-doping violation. The Classics specialist’s biological passport blood profile is in line with markers that indicate doping. Meanwhile, the UCI have announced that Steve Houanard has received a two-year ban for a positive test for EPO. The 26-year-old former AG2R rider returned an ‘adverse analytical finding’ in a urine sample collected during an out-of-competition test on 21 September 2012. The Frenchman signed a document accepting the sanction on 18th January.
The UCI has also announced that it aims to establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to look at doping in professional cycling. The UCI made the announcement at the first public hearing of the Independent Commission established to investigate the allegations made against the UCI in the recent USADA reasoned decision. The UCI will seek to develop legal framework for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission with WADA, including provision for an amnesty program, with the aim of establishment by the end of March. McQuaid said that, “(the UCI) have listened carefully and have decided that a truth and reconciliation process is the best way to examine the culture of doping in cycling in the past and to clear the air so that cycling can move forward. I welcome the opportunity to work in partnership with WADA on this.”
IG London Nocturne Holds the UKs First Indoor Criterium
The IG London Nocturne made cycling history at the London Bike Show over the weekend by staging the UK's first fully indoor criterium race. To launch the 2013 IG London Nocturne which will take place at Smithfield Market in London on 8th June, a 500m circuit at London's ExCel Centre. Despite the heavy snow and freezing conditions, the third London Bike Show attracted huge crowds every day, who were treated to some high-quality bike racing on a tight and technical circuit.
Elite men’s and women’s races were held along with four support races, folding bike races, a track bike race, a Penny Farthing race, a media race and an industry race. Ian Bibby of newly-formed British team Madison Genesis triumphed in the Elite Criterium just hours after the team's launch on Saturday. Bibby attacked early on and forged a lead that he never surrendered, beating Pete Hawkins (IG-Sigma Sport) and Paul Oldham (Team Hope Factory Racing) into second and third respectively. "It's a new team, we wanted to start with a bang, so we were really up for this," Bibby said, "I went hard for the first two laps, I got a gap and thought I'd try and keep it."
NetApp-Endura receive wildcard for the Criterium du Dauphine
Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO) have offered a wildcard to NetApp-Endura, the Pro Continental outfit so disappointed to miss out on a wildcard for this year’s Giro d’Italia. After securing invitations to Tirreno-Adriatico and Il Lombardia, this is the third WorldTour wildcard that has been sealed by the German registered outfit for the 2013 season. "Riding the Dauphiné is a great honour for us. ASO already expressed its confidence in us with early invitations to the tours in Qatar and Oman. With (this) wildcard, they gave us an additional signal, which we really appreciate", said Team Manager Ralph Denk.
From June 2 - 9, the 65th edition of the Critérium du Dauphiné, won last year by Bradley Wiggins, features four mountain stages in the French Alps. “The Dauphiné is decisive in our racing schedule leading up to the summer, because our season goals remain unchanged. We want to compete in a Grand Tour again this year. With today's wildcard, we have the optimal situation for preparing the new generation of tour riders in our team for this demanding goal. We will reward the confidence the organizers are placing in the team,” Denk concluded.
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