10.29.2013

In short: good interview with (new) Trek Calvin Watson by Cyclingnews

READ IT ALL HERE:
http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/who-is-calvin-watson?ns_campaign=news&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=cyclingnews&ns_linkname=0&ns_fee=0

In short:
1. Where he comes from: Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), graduate of the Dave Sanders school of motor pacing. Sanders is Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS) head cycling coach and Australian junior national team coach. He "has followed the progression of Watson since his early teens."
2. Sanders behind: "He's been the one person behind me the whole way, from basically the first race I won as a junior he's been there and supported me and mentored me. I guess without him I wouldn't be the bike rider that I am today."
3. Setback: In the Australian Junior National Team in 2011, a full scholarship with the AIS in 2012. But it was not renewed for the following year.
4. Victory at the Herald Sun Tour 2012.
5. 2013 by Team Hoppla and excape: Watson didn't find well with the Italian amateur team based out of Empoli: "The location on the map was fantastic but the other things that went with it weren't so fantastic. It's always hard to integrate into another culture but when there's also other issues going on in a team house situation it's not the sort of place you want to be."
6. Synergy Baku and back in AIS program: "I just packed up everything and moved back to Varese. I want to give credit to the AIS program as they definitely helped me."
7. Dream team with young talents: Watson works with Caleb Ewan, Damien Howson, Adam Phelan: "There were so many race wins and everyone at the team got a shot at having a crack at winning races and doing their thing."
8. No pressure: "I haven't had a huge talent name like Caleb Ewan, but that's been nice as well because you don't have to deal with all the pressure that comes with that."
9. Trek: "My win at the Herald Sun Tour was the big one, I guess that's when talks sort of came up. Then I went to the Tour Down Under and had a few solid rides there",  "Trek team was the one that was the most interested. I signed in August."
10. What's next: At the end of November there will be a three day team-building camp in Belgium, then a two week training camp in Spain. As far as races: Tour Down Under and Herald Sun Tour "...to race with the number one on my back… that would be pretty special."

10.28.2013

Trek completed roster by Hondo, Nizzolo and Watson

Press release
(Waterloo, WI) - Trek Factory Racing has completed its roster by adding three riders to the 2014 team with the signing of Danilo Hondo (GER), Giacomo Nizzolo (ITA), and Calvin Watson (AUS). While Hondo and Nizzolo have been retained from 2013's RadioShack Leopard Trek team, Watson is a new face on the WorldTour stage and represents the team's support and development of young, promising talent.
Providing a consistent presence of leadership and experience is WorldTour veteran Danilo Hondo. After riding in support for Lampre's Alessadro Petacchi for three years, Radioshack Leopard Trek was lucky to land Hondo in 2013 to support their incredible classics season. Trek Factory Racing will depend on Hondo to provide mentorship to the younger sprinters as well as continue building results in the early months of the racing season. "For me it was a logical decision to sign on with the new team," said Hondo. "I chose a year ago to leave my role with Lampre and start working for both Fabian Cancellara in the classics and Giacomo Nizzolo in the sprint and it has worked well. I didn't see a reason to change again. I had a very good feeling with this team and I'm sure the new team will have a similar ambiance. I'd like to continue to share my experience with the classics core and to the young sprinters in the team. I'm excited about the bigger focus on sprinting and I think it's going to be great!"

Benefiting from Hondo's leadership and experience will be the young and talented Italian Giacomo Nizzolo. The past two seasons have been breakthrough years for Nizzolo that have revealed what the young rider is capable of. Most notably his 2012 victory at the Tour of Wallonie and winning the points classification in both the 2013 Volta ao Algarve and the Tour of Luxembourg where he also captured two stage wins. If his trajectory continues, Nizzolo's 2014 season with Trek Factory Racing looks promising. "I'm very happy to stay with this group, as I feel really good here. I think we are going to improve even more, as we get more and more used to racing with each other," said Nizzolo. "Personally I'm hoping for a couple more victories. For different reasons I don't feel as though this year was as good for me as 2012, despite feeling physically stronger and more adapted to the races. I hope that I can have a bit more luck next year, although I'm the first to admit that misadventures like in the Vattenfall Cyclassics are part of sprinting. Next year I'd like to be competitive from the start until the end of the season. Luca and I will work on my program and race calendar as I have come to realize that the spring months, with the cold and the pollen, are not optimal for me."

Also signed onto the team for next year is Australian up-and-comer Calvin Watson. One of the youngest members of the team, Watson has raced against significant competition since turning pro at events like the Santos Tour Down Under and Tour de l'Avenir. His ascent to the WorldTour has been swift, but the young rider brings a fair amount of European racing experience with him and will look to the veterans of the team to grow his talents. Watson, who was exposed to racing at a young age by his father who also raced, is looking at his opportunity with Trek Factory Racing as a chance to determine the direction of career. "Right now, my focus is on learning and developing into the rider that I'd like to be," said Watson. "I'm excited to be part of this new team as there are some amazing riders and directors here with so much knowledge of the sport. I'm just hoping to be able to utilize as much of it as I can."

A Bike Ride: chestnut, olive and plum

Chestnuts hopefully
November is coming. November is there. Technically summer is over since Spetember the 21 and normally October in Italy is cold. Weather is weird this year, even worring: too warm, too wild when it rains, too dry when it's dry, like in countries with only two seasons. I'm writing wearing just a t-shirt. 
Yesterday it was humid, annoying, but it didn't rain. I wasn't feeling good dued to my low blood pressure, but I must thank Tiziano - my ex - who forced me outside. Walking toward piazzale Michelangelo, on the hills just over Florence, we were sweating like in late spring. Plants get nuts and you can see enormous leaves fed by these abnormal warmth and humidity, flowers blooming out of their season, still green trees and others completely nacked while wet dead leaves block drains and streets get flooded whenever it rains... 
In the afternoon we went for a ride: 36 km, to Pontassieve by Compiobbi and back from Vallina. Nothing special but it was age since my last time: too busy, too rainy, too scared by traffic. I don't like to ride alone on those roads but to come out from Florence I have few choice: on flat, to Pontassieve. If not: crossing all the city center, toward Prato or Pistoia. Uphill: to piazzale Michelangelo, to Galluzzo and toward Chianti, or to Settignano and Fiesole toward Mugello. My present (no)shape doesn't allow me to go too far or too up so when I get out of the traffic... it's time to come back! 
Anyway, with Tiziano I was feeling more confortable: he led me among the traffic, set a decent pace and let me stay on his wheel as long as I wanted. He gently avoided to drop me on the short 'climbs' on the way back but let me ride in front by my - slow! - pace. Around Vallina we met my dad and our son Liveri - who had finally finished his homework - but I didn't want to come home with them: riding with my son I get nervous, he's way better than me so does things I can't do, rides too fast and isn't afraid of anything. I didn't want to bother him so we splitted: I went home direcly with my dad who - was carefully riding his new Bianchi - while son and ex went for a longer trip. 
The road runs beside the river, crossing fields, farms and plants nurseries. Further, hills covered in chestnuts and oaks forests, now and then an isolated pine or a cycpress. The river was swollen and boiling for the recent rain, livid brown. But the forest didn't show yet the autumnal colours: still green, not red, not golden enough. Pleanty of mushrooms but few chestnuts. Plenty of big olives too: after the 'vendemmia' - grape harvest - it's time for the 'battitura' - olives harvest - and you can see busy farmers stretching out green clothes under the trees, beating plants by long rods to make olives fall and then collecting them in cases to bring to the 'frantoio' - oil mil. They work hard and fast: rain storms or hail could waste everything and this mad weather definitely doesn't help.
"Olive means 'peace' in flowers lanuage" I thought "...while chestnut is 'do me justice'. How different! two words and two worlds." I have grown up playing in a chestnuts' forest so maybe I took from there my strong sense of justice: chestnut has always looked like a right, good tree. Good to climb, good to build a house-on-a-tree, good to feed by its fruits and good to help by its large, soft, strong leaves. Chestnuts remember me my childhood and if I was a tree I would like to be a chestnut. With olives I have got a less close relationship... so far. In spite my country home has been builded on a terraced field that once was cultivated with vines adn olives, only few plants remained and we have never harvested them. As a child I used to run crossing the high grass till the limit of the yard to pick up and eat the few grapes of 'uva fragola' from a half wild plant. Once I tried an olive and I spited it in disgust. No way: my garden's olives weren't to eat.
Olives are beautiful though and I must admit that 'peace' is just what they inspire when you are all alone on a country path, on this beautiful hills, and stop to admire a silver ondulated stretch of olives. Silence only broken by short voices of farmers preparing the 'battitura'. Olives trees are often very old, their short trunk nubby and hollow. 
At home in time to watch a good Belgian cyclocross, I prepared a good plum's cake - and plum means 'keep your promise', I ignored it but it suits me very well!

10.27.2013

Cyclocross: Klaas Vantornout won in Ruddervoorde

Embedded image permalinkA wild cross. Completely different from Ronse and Tabor. Not super hard, still heavy: a stretch of sand, grassy hills in a row, strairs and climbs, not much descent. Dry. Not van der Haar's cup of tea, neither Nys - harder, more technical routes suit him better. Not super fast but including fast sections. A fast man won: Klaas Vantornout. And I'm happy because after Lars he's my favourite crosser.
Niels Albert had been the first one on the attack, he had gained a gap on Nys, Van der Haar, Vantornout and Meeusen. Then Vantornout joined, then Nys. But Vantornout won solo: he broke-away at the last lap and nobody could catch him back. At the sprint he would have probably won anyway. One arm up, one finger pointing to the sky, the stripped kit of Belgian champion, he crossed the line first, then Nys, then Meeusen. 
Vantornout's attack had splitted the chasing group, Lars van der Haar had got slightly dropped  and was finally 4th: not bad at all after his wonderful victory in Tabor - and a long transfert. Yesterday he had tweeted: "Wow! Win in WC Tabor! Unbelievable feeling to win 2 World Cups. So happy:-) Missed my flight because of it but I don't care! #camper #1100km " Today he said: "Fourth in the first SP cross of the season. @ KlaasVT_be was the best today. I am very satisfied with the result for a double weekend!"
Embedded image permalinkNiel Albert should be disappointed: he had made the race attacking early - too early maybe - and finished just 5th. Not happy also Kevin Pauwels (10th): Sunweb's leader this season is obviously Vantornout. Interesting the 9th place of the German Marcel Meisen.
I often wonder if Sven Nys considers more important Superprestige or World Cup... The second one, in my opinion: a true Belgian race. More international riders instead target the WC more (or only). Then everybody aim to win the World Championship and wear the cross rainbow jersey. 


RESULTS
1 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team
2 Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan KDL Cycling Team
3 Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team
4 Lars van der Haar (Ned) Rabobank Development Team
5 Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus Cycling Team
6 Bart Aernouts (Bel) AA Drink Cycling Team
7 Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team
8 Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team
9 Marcel Meisen (Ger) Kwadro-Stannah Cycling Team
10 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team

10.26.2013

Cyclocross: Lars van der Haar perfect in Tabor

Soft green ondulated grass. A fast race. Perfect for Lars van der Haar who interpretated it perfectly. 
At the 2nd lap he was already in front with Walseleben while behind Pauwels, Mouray and Bina were already fighting for a podim spot. It was about gaining a gap, keeping it, making it grow. Eventually dropping the German rider. Not easy, this last task: Walsleben is showing class. Easier to stay away together and so they did, lap after lap.
But on a slippery corner van der Haar went down and it took him a while to disengage his bike from a barrier. 
He had to chase and that little mistake made his race even more perfect, because his comeback was quick and cool. Walsleben wasn't waiting for him, def! together again they went to finish. 
Without that mistake van der Haar had maybe managed to drop his opponent and to win solo but that made his race even more perfect, because his sprint was splendid, an amazing mix of power and skill.
A fragaria is the perfect flower for today victory: it means 'perfection'! Two World Cup wins in a row, achieved in style by such a young guy... it's great. On the podium with Walseleben there was Kevin Pauwels: Tabor's route suited him too and he raced well, unfortunately he fell and failed to join the leading duo, if not he could have played his cards at the sprint. Very good the French Mouray, 4th and still strong Bina. Vantornout was often in front leading the chase but he seems so far less brilliant than the last year.
On the podium, the Dutch antem again. Lars van der Haar looked serious, moved. Then he thought it was over and made the move to put his hat on again, realizing it was too early he smiled and that's always nice to see ;)
RESULTS
1 Lars van der Haar (Ned) Rabobank Development Team 1:09:07
2 Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus
3 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team 0:00:11
4 Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:00:12
5 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team 0:00:24
6 Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus Cycling Team 0:00:27
7 Bart Aernouts (Bel) AA Drink Cycling Team 0:00:31
8 Martin Bina (Cze) Kwadro-Stannah Cycling Team 0:00:35
9 Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team 0:00:51
10 Enrico Franzoi (Ita) Selle Italia-Guerciotti 0:00:55

Cyclocross: Jan Denuwelaere retires after Koppenbergcross

Sad news :(
According to Sporza 
- via cyclephotos.co.uk - he said:
"My decision to quit has to do with the current situation in the CX. I start on the third or fourth row over again. People don't realize what I have to do to fight my way back to the front.
In every cyclocross I must race twice:  one to survive at  the start and one to finish as close as possible, because that was important for the World Cup selections. I had to start at the back of the field, the coach didn't consider that at all.

10.25.2013

In short: "Tour de France 2014 is for me " Andy Schleck said. And my opinion.

There is an interiew here:
http://www.wort.lu/de/view/andy-schleck-tour-2014-liegt-mir-52690a7ce4b0783e0539ded2

In short and translated:

1. “The Tour next year is for me.":  “It's a route with very little time trialling, which reminds me of a past Tour. I’m looking to find to old my form, and I'm certain I can go all the way."
2. No fear of pavé: "Even ahead of the cobblestone passages I have no fear. In 2010, I came away from the events of the stage more than honourably."
3. Back to training: "On Sunday if the sun is out I will start the first kilometre in preparation for next year. I will give it full throttle." 
4. A new start, with Frank: "Fränk and I will now make a new start. The second phase of our career is beginning. I'm optimistic and I have already proved in the past that I have the motor for taking great victories."
Frank himself added:
"That is past. I have long since finished with this topic. I am pleased that [the Tour] goes over the cobblestones, again next year. I will be able to take my revenge. I certainly respect the Pavé, but I feel no fear. I am looking forward to it immensely. I am very pleasantly surprised. Even though I’ve not yet looked at the route in detail, I know the big climbs. The fact that there is only one time trial means that me and my brother Andy will naturally be in contention. Especially as in a time trial at the very end of a three week Tour, fatigue plays a crucial role and the distances among the favourites should not be extremely large. We will prepare optimally, visit the stages and then attack it full on. Motivation could hardly be greater for Andy and me."

My opinion:
I'm quite fed up of that. I'd had expected more realism and at least a lower profile comment. I have no doubt about Andy's motivation but this route doesn't suit him. 
Yes, there is only an itt at the end of the race but he had that twice (2010 and 2011) and it never worked
In 2010 the Tour featured much harder climbs - so he could got the leader jersey and defend it - contenders were few - so it ended in a duel with Contador - and without the chain problem it would have started the final itt in yellow. His performance was excellent while Contador was under his normal level and in spite of that he couldn't gain back those fucking seconds. He lost the Tour. Doping excluded, Andy has always said he lost the Tour in the Prologue and I agree: there he had been embarrassing. In 2011 he was embarrassing also in the last itt, where he started in yellow but could absolutely nothing against Cadel Evans. But many others did better than Andy there and saved his second place because he had a good advantage conquered in the high mountains. He lost again in a last long itt a jersey he had gotten climbing. There were absolutely few tt in 2011 Tour de France and very very hard climbing: he lost in the last itt a Tour designed for him.
Pavé: in 2010 he rode the Roubaix stage on Fabian Cancellara's wheel. Whitout that I don't think he could have done something decent there because he has not got a Roubaix physic nor a Roubaix way to race. Is Cancellara going to help in 2014? That can make the difference with Chris Froome because he fears pavé while he's very strong in climbing and in timetrialing. In the next Tour de France Andy is not going to attack with Frank four times in a row on many long hard climbs, because there is nothing similar there. There are climbs, they are few, not so hard and not so long. You can't get a big gap there.
Finally: in the next Tour de France Andy will face several strong opponents who climb as well as him and are more complete as riders. Vincenzo Nibali is very hard to drop on climbs like those and even dropped he can get back minutes on a itt. Andy can gain minutes on a climb but it must be very long and very hard, then he probably loses the most of them in the itt and then there is no time to get them back. It isn't the itt itself, it's where it's placed: too close to Paris. That suits Nibali better but also Froome, and even Betancur who is a perfect climber but also good against the clock. He's naive and messy but well directed he can do all right. To name only two!
I'm not saying Andy can't win the Tour or suggesting he shouldn't race it but I'm fimely persuaded he should seriously try to win something big BEFORE, avoiding to think only about the Tour. He should also avoid to go around telling he's going to win it and that's perfect for him. Keep calm and train hard. Of course journalist ask bt he - and his team - should learn to manage better the comunication side of their job. Explain when you have issues instead.
I'm fed up to read this kind of declarations and they sound ridicolous when you read them after a disappointing race. Next year Andy must demonstrate he's still a top rider, it's his last chance. I know he's sure about his capacities and I agree but he did nothing serious in two years and two years is a lot of time in sport. Cycling even changed: new riders, a new way to manage races and teams. He must demonstrate he still fit the contest, that isn't given. 
So I'd have like to read something like: "It's a good Tour, I think I can have my chance and will do all to be ready in July. It's definitely again one of my goals and I hope next year I'll be able to get some good results because I miss that and I know it's still possible."

10.24.2013

The White Rose of York: TdF and much more

... mah! I'm too traditionalist about cycling to really like it. I don't like races to start from abroad, even less I like races to contaminate their traditional image. 
Funny because in general I like contaminations. I AM a cultural contamination me too and couldn't image a no-contaminated social life. 
But TdF is TdF - Roubaix is Roubaix -  I mean: I want to get pesto  - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pesto - if I ordered 'pesto' not a new version of it. You can get from that I don't like neither pavé stages. 
Anyway I DO like the White Rose of York. I was 11 years old when I read by chance my first Shakespeare's historical drama and it was Henry IV. After it I read ALL them and finally ALL Shakespeare. I didn't have all that at home so I borrowed it by my Litterature teacher at school. It was all together in a red covered big book by Sansoni, written in small characters shared in four colums like newspapers. It took me since January till June to finish it and I read all in a row because I must give it back at the end of the school. 
The Earl of Warwick was one of my heros and I could recite by heart his speech in the Temple-garden: "I love no colours, and without all colour of base insinuating flattery I pluck this white rose with Plantagenet." I still do. (http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/1500/pg1500.html ) He was called The King Maker. A man possessed by his political passion, fanatically honest... till the  betrayal, because fidelity for him was to an idea not to a man.
File:White Rose Badge of York.svgNow they put this White Rose on a cycling jersey and it's going to be the King Marker of the Tour. It's a big drama, I agree. Shakespeare would have did great with it, considering he used to mix a main plot about main characters with underplots about humble people: team leaders, Tour contenders, domestiques, courage, loyalty, good and bad luck, tragedy and commedy, high and low... we have that all in a Tour and nothing is missed. 
Nevertheless this White Rose looks a bit out of contest. Maybe it's going to be a sign of 'good will' given that it means 'innocence' in the language of flowers. Cheaters should be ashamed to wear a White Rose. And as far as cheating is concerned, today I read this interesting article about Chris Horner's bio passport issues:
 http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/biking/road-biking/Chris-Horner-Bio-Passport-Raises-Doubts.html?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=tweet
It's interesting because it showes data and gives a key to interpretate them. It doesn't 'demonstrate' anything but explains why the last Vuelta winner can't find a team for the next season. Horner says he's clean so he should be happy to end his career on a high note. At his age, with his past, he can't ask more. 
Andrea Kloden announced he retires. I read many bad stuff. He too belongs to that past we want to be past. Did he cheat? probably. Have we got any proof? no, we have not. I like him as a person, understand his low profile style and think it shouldn't be interpretated only as 'omerta'. Many riders from that age are living the cleaning process in cycling as an unfair mass discrediting. Some of them argumentated, some others simply stoped talking with mass media. It's also a matter of nature. Dopers or not, they didn't have an easy life. Think of Marco Pantani before you write a hateful article about 'the doping era'. It isn't black or white and in that era riders were mostly forced to live - or survive - in a 'gray area'. Fell by heart before you judge by head: Aristotle used to say Justice must be temperated by Equity.

10.23.2013

Tour de France 2014 presented




STAGES
Source http://www.procyclingstats.com/race/Tour_de_France_2014_1

Stage 1  »  Leeds › Harrogate, 191km

Stage 2  »  York › Sheffield, 198km

Stage 3  »  Cambridge › London, 159km

Stage 4  »  Le Touquet Paris-Plage › Lille, 164km

Stage 5  »  Ypres › Arenberg Porte du Hainaut, 156km

Stage 6  »  Arras › Reims, 194km

Stage 7  »  Epernay › Nancy, 233km

Stage 8  »  Tomblaine › Gerardmer, 161km

Stage 9  »  Gerardmer › Mulhouse, 166km

Stage 10  »  Mulhouse › La planche des Belles Filles, 161km

Rest Day

Stage 11  »  Besancon › Oyonnax, 186km

Stage 12  »  Bourg-en-Bresse › Saint-Etienne, 183km

Stage 13  »  Saint-Etienne › Chamrousse, 200km

Stage 14  »  Grenoble › Risoul, 177km

Stage 15  »  Tallard › Nimes, 222km

Rest Day

Stage 16  »  Carcassonne › Bagneres-de-Luchon, 237km

Stage 17  »  Saint-Gaudens › Saint-Lary-Soulan (Pla d\'Adet), 125km

Stage 18  »  Pau › Hautacam, 145km

Stage 19  »  Maubourguet val d\'Adour › Bergerac, 208km

Stage 20 (ITT)  »  Bergerac › Perigueux, 54km

Stage 21  »  Evry › Paris Champs Elysées, 136km

Tour de France 2014 presentation (without Andy Schleck)

Yep, he isn't there. "Nop" he told me when I asked. For the first time in years. As far as me, I don't watch it because I'm in school all day. For the first time in years me too. 
Long time ago :)
This Tour doesn't seem to suit Andy: a decisive 50 km itt, a long Roubaix-stage, four mountain finishes maybe good to take the jersey but not to keep it till Paris. Start in UK, Alps and then Pyrennes. Celebrating the World War (1914) and some cycling legends who died for it, together with milions of people. I have always thought - or felt - the First World War has been worse than the Second one: a long absurd carnage... But I'm writing before I go to school so I'll tell you more next time.
The fact Andy isn't there could mean many things - and he didn't tell me. Not invited? not interested? more interested or forced to stay at home? a combination of all that is the most probable explaination. Nevertheless it seems more and more realistic that he's finally going to take part in the Giro. Lets see.

Reading on phone? go to the web version to get a dark background!

10.22.2013

Tour of Hainan or Tour of Belkin?


Three in a row it's something. It isn't a big race, it's the end of the season, nevertheless Belkin is ruling in Tour of Hainan and that's an impressive result.
I'm not watching it so I post their press release as I got it. What I can say is that Hofland is living a thrilling experience leading a tour GC and he sounds confident about keeping it. No doubt Theo Bos is a class sprinter, you must of course consider his opponents in this race...
Anyway I'm glad because I used to like Rabobank and welcomed Blanco/Belkin. It isn't fair that new riders have to pay the bill for a past they don't belong to. And I see that this team is serious about his anti doping policy.

Well done guys!  
 
The Belkin Pro Cycling Team remains undefeated in the Tour of Hainan. Theo Bos again claimed the flowers and kisses in today’s stage in Qionghai. And like yesterday, the sprinter was joined by a team-mate on the podium. Moreno Hofland, winner of the opening stage, finished second again, and maintained his overall lead. Lars Boom placed fourth, just like yesterday.

Sports Director Michael Elijzen said that he hoped for a similar scenario after yesterday’s second stage, and his wishes where answered.

"We finished first, second and fourth with the same three guys as yesterday and the race itself was identical as well”, said Elijzen. "The first 70 kilometres were full throttle. We, just like yesterday, covered every attack until a controllable group of six was formed. After that Marc Goos did great at working hard to keep things under control. At the three kilometre mark, the last attackers were caught. “Our sprint train is just super-strong. Theo was dropped off with 150 metres to go and won after a brief but intense sprint.”

Record Theo Bos
Bos lifted his total amount of season victories to eight with his win in Qionghai. One more than last season, which was the sprinter’s goal for 2013.
“It’s nice to break a record. But maybe I should stop it there, otherwise I won’t know what to do next year,” Bos explained. “Anyway, we’ll try to get the most of this race as a team by winning more sprints and the GC.”
 
Confident Moreno Hofland
Hofland hopes to keep the leader’s jersey until the end of the week. In stage seven and eight the group heads into the mountains but the neo-pro is confident about himself.
“I think I can keep the yellow jersey in the hills because I climbed well at the Tour of Beijing.”

10.21.2013

John-Lee Augustyn joins Team MTN-Qhubeka

Press release 
John-Lee Augustyn will return to professional cycling next year with Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung. The South African returns to the sport after spending time off the bike to recover from a hip injury he sustained while racing as a professional.
Augustyn turned professional with Team Barloworld in 2007 and remained there until 2009 before joining Team Sky at its inception. However, he never fully recovered from a crash in 2007 in which he damaged the head of his femur.
He eventually underwent a Birmingham Hip Resurfacing in 2011 and last year decided to take time off the bike to allow his body to recover. After itching to get back to racing, Augustyn has spent time training in Italy and has undergone several medical tests with Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung.
“I’m really happy and motivated,” said Augustyn. “My family and I have made tough choices and sacrifices in the last few years and now they are paying off. I feel I am back where I belong. To be a professional bike rider is a privilege and I’m very proud to be a member of a team from my own country.”
Team Principal, Douglas Ryder welcomed the news: “John-Lee is a super talented South African rider that has seen the absolute highs and lows of cycling. He has ridden every Grand Tour including a top 50 general classification in the Tour de France. We have done a thorough check on his health and he is ready and motivated to get back to the highest levels of world cycling again and we are happy we can give him this chance. He is very positive for next year and his experience will go a long way in supporting and mentoring our team as we make our bid to race in the grand tours of world cycling.”
Brian Gouldie, MTN SA Chief Marketing Officer says: “MTN is very honored to have John-Lee Augustyn choose to sign with the team. There is no doubt that his talent as well as his vast experience will come in handy in the many international races we’ll participate in the next season.”
Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung prides itself in being a high performance race team, providing world class coaching and support to the athletes, something Augustyn says he is looking forward to.
“I’ve followed the team’s progress this year and I find it very interested. When I joined Sky as a start up team, they were very innovative and did new things in cycling. I see Team MTN-Qhubeka as the same with taking African riders and giving them the best scientific support in all departments to become the best in the world. I’ve seen the support all the back up staff give and can see the riders really appreciate it as it is world class,” Augustyn concluded.
Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will have 25 riders for the 2014 season. All the riders from 2013 remain and with the new additions, the team will comprise eighteen from the African continent and seven international riders.
Complete 2014 Roster: Gerald Ciolek (GER)
, Ignatas Konovalovas (LTU), Sergio Pardilla (SPA), Jay Thomson (RSA), Louis Meintjes (RSA), Johann van Zyl (RSA), Andreas Stauff (GER), Martin Reimer (GER), Youcef Reguigui (ALG), Kristian Sbaragli (ITA), Ferekalsi Debesay (ERI), Tsgabu Grmay (ETH), Adrien Niyonshuti (RWA), Meron Russom (ERI), Jani Tewelde (ERI), Songezo Jim (RSA), Bradley Potgieter (RSA), Dennis van Niekerk (RSA), Jacques Janse van Rensburg (RSA)
, Jaco Venter (RSA), Martin Wesemann (RSA), Linus Gerdemann (GER), Merhawi Kudus (ERI), Daniel Teklhaimanot (ERI), John-Lee Augustyn (RSA)

Back on track!

It's that period of the year again, and year after year I watch it and understand it few. So like every year I ask my friend Laura Grazioli - who at the opposite understands it perfectly - to explain us what happens on the track. It's European Track Cycling Championships this time and she wrote a very nice article for Cicloweb. You can read it in Italian here:
http://www.cicloweb.it/articolo/2013/10/21/europei-su-pista-2013-si-rivede-l-italia-anzi-l-itaelia-viviani-protagonista-con#.UmTpJr6HXP0.facebook
...or read my translation. But don't get angry with me: I just translated!
 
"Italy for sure didn't come home sad from the European Track Cycling Championships just concluded in Apeldoorn (Netherlands): it isn't easy to win 2 gold medals and it didn't happen often. The satisfaction is even greater because the second European title comes in the last race on the program (Madison). The main charcter of the story is once again Elia Viviani, who won the Madison title pairing with Liam Bertazzo and the points race on Friday on his own: Viviani is currently the best performer in the world in this specialty and this year's world title is really within his reach.

Season by season Viviani has greatly improved his technique of race management: before he used to attack continuously and often wasted a lot of energy, now an effective move is enough for him to get the best result, in add he's always hungry of victories and never settled for a second place. All that is a guarantee of success.

With two golds there is really nothing to complain about, but medals came from non-Olympic trials, where instead there is still much to do: the team pursuit's quartet can't go under that bloody time of 4'07 " haunting Italy since 4 years although this time it's allowed it to get a good 5th place. Among the women the situation is different: the team pursuit in 4 athletes for 4 km (previously 3 of 3 km athletes ) is a totally new race and it is still early to determine the level of performance. For now, both in men and women race the British school still rules and especially women have got an incredible superiority compared to their opponents .

The team formed by Trott, Archibald, Barker and King scored a time of 4'26 " 556 gaining a gap on the Polish opponents of nearly 10'. Gap is even 16 for the Italian quartet. Good news come instead from the juniores category where a promising group of girls is forming.

Germany is the country collecting more medals, all won in sprint races: gold in Team Sprint ​​and Keirin by  Maximilian Levy and ​​Individual Sprint by Kristina Vogel. The other 3 silver medals come from the sprint  disciplines. This confirms that Germany is currently the best factory of sprinters although it not always gets the result you'd expect. Robert Förstemann missed indead the men individual sprint title and had to settle for second place behind the Russian Denis Dmitriev, dued to a mistake in the first sprint when he invaded the sprinters' lane already occupied by the Russian rider

Just Russia follows Germany in the most victorious countries overall:  the pair Brezhniva-Streltsova won the women team sprint (in front of Germany) while Viktor Manakov realized an amazing performance in men omnium, where he was in top 5/6 in all specialties and won invididuale pursuit and scratch .

Women omnium has been for sure the hardest fought: the victory went to the Olympic champion Laura Trott on Kirsten Wild, but only thanks to the total time of the different trials. And still the gap was minimal: only three tenths of a second. However Kirsten Wild could confort herself  with the title gained on friday in the points race. Trott didn't dominate the race as she's used to do, mainly dued to a fall in the elimination race: the secret of her success was the continuity of results, her placements were in fact:  3rd, 2nd, 3rd , 2nd, 3rd, 2nd.

Italy was in the omnium race with Simona Frapporti and Francesco Castegnaro, both anonymous.  However Castegnaro is still very young: to try to compete with more experienced top athletes - like the Dutch rider Tim Veldt or Martyn Irvine who completed the podium - it's already good for him.

Dutch rider Elis Ligtlee, born in 1994 , didn't need the 'young age' justification: she got a stunning victory in the Keirin and a second place in sprint: the fast Kristina Vogel probably didn't expect to find such a fierce young opponent, but who in recent times has been following juniores category  knew that this Dutch talent was going to shine also among the elite riders.

European Track Cycling Championships definitely opened the season indoor: since today we will have the  Six days of Amsterdam, the Italian Championship will start tomorrow, Wednesday the Four days of Grenoble and since1 to 3 of November the first race of World Cup in Manchester: a competition that unfortunately doesn't look good so that the location of the third race has not been decided yet. The second one will be held in Aguascalientes (Mexico) on December 5-7, but as far as the dates of the third (January 17-19) is concerned, a mark looms still over: TBC . To Be Confirmed ..."

You find all results (also) here:
http://www.cyclingnews.com/races/european-track-championships-2013

Caleb Ewan Joins ORICA-GreenEDGE

Press release
ORICA-GreenEDGE is thrilled to announce the signing of Caleb Ewan. Widely regarded as the biggest talent in the U23 ranks, Ewan will step up to the WorldTour via Jayco-AIS in October 2014. Prior to the start of his neo-pro contract, Ewan is on pre-contract with the Australian outfit. The team has secured his services as a stagiaire beginning next August.
“I decided I wanted to stay in the U23 team for part of next year and ease into the transition a bit more,” said Ewan. “If I went pro next year, it could be too early in terms of development. GreenEDGE has given me a clear path that outlines several smaller steps rather than one big one. When I do turn pro, I’ll be ready.”
“We identified Caleb as an extremely talented rider as evidenced by his results,” said General Manager Shayne Bannan. “We’re excited to be part of his development and growth. His success to date indicates that he’s one of the classiest riders in the next generation of cyclists.”
“We obviously have close ties with Jayco-AIS,” Bannan continued. “We’ve agreed to have Caleb stay with that team next year. He’ll be on pre-contract with ORICA-GreenEDGE as of January 1 2014. He’ll have at least two full years of racing with us, so his contract runs through the end of the 2016 season.”
Ewan excelled in his first year as a U23. The 19-year-old scored eights victories in Europe during the 2013 season. He capped off his impressive year with a fourth place finish in Florence in the road race at the U23 Road World Championships.  Although Ewan has emerged as a fast finisher in bunch kicks, his ability to survive short, steep pitches and medium mountains allows him to be more versatile than the pure sprinter.
“I have a great team,” said Ewan. “Everyone gets along so well. We all back each other. That’s been the key to my results this year. Also, I’ve been in Europe for the past three years at this point, so I’m getting more adjusted both to racing and living over there.”
“The two stage wins at Tour de l’Avenir stand out as my best accomplishments,” added Ewan. “My goal this year was to win at least one race and make the team for Tour de l’Avenir and for Worlds. I never expected things to go as well as they did.”
With an established framework to develop young riders and a proven ability to nurture the future stars of the sport, ORICA-GreenEDGE has became a popular place for neo-pros. Ewan will join current teammate Damien Howson and British twins Simon and Adam Yates at ORICA-GreenEDGE. He follows in the footsteps of Luke Durbridge and Michael Hepburn, both of whom turned professional after riding exclusively for Australian squads as U23 riders.
“This was the obvious place for me to go,” said Ewan. “For a young Australian, it’s the perfect set-up. The team has shown they care about my development, and I’m confident they can provide the sort of support and mentoring I’ll need during my first few years as a professional.”
“I’ll start the year as a U23,” Ewan added. “I’ll target the top U23 races. I hope to make the Commonwealth Games team and do that at start of August. From there, I’ll stagiaire with the team up until the World Championships. I hope to be selected again for Worlds. Maybe I’ll do Tour de l’Avenir again, too. If everything goes as planned, my first World Tour race would be Tour of Beijing.”
Bannan hopes the path the team has worked with Ewan to establish will allow him to continue to flourish. While Ewan’s talents on the bike are on full display for all to enjoy, Bannan is convinced that the way Ewan elects to handle himself off the bike is an additional marker for success at the professional level.
“It’s quite impressive that Caleb conducts himself so professionally at such a young age,” said Bannan. “The way he goes about looking after himself both on and off the bike will serve him well. We’re very happy to work with such a hard-working, naturally talented young man.”

10.20.2013

Cyclocross: Lars van der Haar won in Valkenburg

Embedded image permalinkFlat, fast and dry. A tricky curve after a technical descent. The first World Cup race in Valkenburg suited him and Lars van der Haar took his first victory as an elite rider in World Cup.
He was the fastest at the start and kept it going. Strong, easy and technically perfect, he was also lucky. 
He didn't make mistakes, he didn't get mechanical problems and his disc brakes worked well. It's the first time a pro rider wins a World Cup race using them and they saved him in a few crucial moments, last lap included.
On the line, one of the most beautiful smiles in the world! I'm proud!
Bad luck instead - again - for Kevin Pauwels: he chased and joined but got a mechanical problem and after that he lost his coolness, made many mistakes, finished 2nd with a gap. Bad luck also for Sven Nys: he waited as usual in the group, attacked 3 laps to go but got stopped by a front wheel flat. He didn't give up, chased again and could be on the podium but broke his chain and his race was over.
Surprise - for me - the German rider Walsleben: 3rd after avery good race. 
In the Women race Marianne Vos dominated so it has been a super WC for Dutch cycling!

RESULTS
MEN
1 Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Rabobank Development Team 1:02:45
2 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team 0:00:20
3 Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP - Powerplus 0:00:39
4 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team 0:00:48
5 Bart Aernouts (Bel) AA Drink Cycling Team 0:01:00
6 Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet - Fidea 0:01:09
7 Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team 0:01:20
8 Enrico Franzoi (Ita) Selle Italia Guerciotti 0:01:31
9 Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet - Fidea 0:01:39
10 Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet - Fidea 0:01:53
11 Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus 0:01:57
12 Fabien Canal (Fra) ASPTT Definitive Tec 0:02:01
13 Thijs Al (Ned) Telenet - Fidea 0:02:07
14 Egoitz Murgoitio Rekalde (Spa) Grupo Hirumet Taldea 0:02:13
15 Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet - Fidea 0:02:22
16 Marcel Meisen (Ger) Kwadro - Stannah 0:02:27
17 Niels Wubben (Ned) Rabobank Development Team 0:02:29
18 Simon Zahner (Swi) EKZ Racing Team
19 Ian Field (GBr) Hargroves Cycles 0:02:40
20 Twan Van Den Brand (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team 0:03:03
21 Mariusz Gil (Pol) Kwadro - Stannah 0:03:07
22 Martin Haring (Svk) CK Banska Bystrica 0:03:22
23 Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team 0:03:41
24 Wietse Bosmans (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus 0:03:46
25 Lubomir Petrus (Cze) BKCP - Powerplus 0:03:50
26 Ondrej Bambula (Cze) Cez Cyklo Team Tabor 0:04:00
27 Marco Ponta (Ita) Centro Sportivo Esercito 0:04:04
28 Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) Scott Swisspower Mtb Racing Team 0:04:17
29 Andreas Moser (Swi) Zaunteam Mittelland 0:04:31
30 Jonathan Page (USA) Fuji - Spy - Competitive Cyclist 0:04:49
-1lap Patrick Van Leeuwen (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team
-1lap Sascha Weber (Ger) Team Differdange - Losch
-1lap Arnaud Jouffroy (Fra) Telenet - Fidea
-2laps Lukas Winterberg (Swi) MG - Cycling Team
-2laps Kenneth Hansen (Den) Cannondale - Haderslev
-2laps Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibanez (Spa) Lizarte
-2laps Vladimir Kyzivat (Cze) Johnson Controls As Ml. Bol.
-2laps Magnus Darvell (Swe) Team Kalas Merida
-2laps Vaclav Metlicka (Svk) Johnson Controls As Ml. Bol.
-3laps Joachim Parbo (Den) Hammel CK
-3laps Marco Bianco (Ita) Carraro Team Trentino
-3laps Inigo Gomez Elorriaga (Spa) Bioracer - Caravanos Erandio
-3laps Yu Takenouchi (Jpn) Colba - Superano Ham
-3laps Jon Gomez Elorriaga (Spa) Bioracer - Caravanos Erandio
-4laps Yannick Mayer (Ger) Team Baier Landshut
-4laps Angus Edmond (NZl)
-5laps Christoph Ambroziak (Ger) Gunsha Racing Team
WOMEN
1 Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabo Women Cycling Team 0:37:56
2 Katherine Compton (USA) Trek Cyclocross Collective 0:01:35
3 Nikki Harris (GBr) Young Telenet - Fidea 0:01:52
4 Helen Wyman (GBr) Kona 0:02:04
5 Christel Ferrier-Bruneau (Fra) Faren Kuota 0:02:11
6 Pavla Havlikova (Cze) Young Telenet - Fidea 0:02:20
7 Ellen Van Loy (Bel) Dncs / Pro 2012 Cycling Team 0:02:29
8 Sanne Cant (Bel) Enertherm - Bkcp 0:02:53
9 Annefleur Kalvenhaar (Ned) Giant Dealerteams 0:03:05
10 Caroline Mani (Fra) Raleigh - Clement 0:03:30