Cyclocross: Van Aerts Too Fast in Flandriencross

Embedded image permalinkWhat a race! Too fast too allow an easy break-away
Walsleben attacked 2 laps to go, Van Aerts followed with van der Poel and beated the young Dutch in a thrilling sprint.
"It's going to be fast" Lars van der Haar said before the race and yep, it has been fast, since the start. 
When the road got narrow, Vantornout fell and spent the most of race trying to come back to the front.
Pic by G. Van den Bossche

As I said, nobody could get away in spite many attacked. Finally Jens Adams got a gap sprinting on the line 4 laps to go but Meeusen brought the group back to him. 
3 laps to go it was Van Aerts who went away solo and this time it was Walsleben who caught him and didn't stop but immediately set his own attack. Meeusen, Van Aerts and van der Poel followed. Meeusen fell and got dropped while the rest approached together the line. With a classy aceleration van der Poel passed and dropped Walsleben, launching the sprint. Van Aerts was on his wheel and easily jumped off to take the win.

Wout Van Aert:
“It was just a long enough finish to get over him. I’m pleased to have won. I’m not racing full-time amongst the pro’s. Now I’m able to choose my races. It pleases me to race like this. It’s tough to maintain your position on this course. I’m pleased that it worked out,” 
That was a perfect situation for me. In the final laps, I was able to profit from the energy I saved before. 
I knew he would ride it as slow as possible. I didn’t dare to keep a safe distance because it was too risky if he didn’t slow down. He did it and I thought I had lost but I gave all I had. It turned out I had more left in my legs.”

Mathieu van der Poel:
“It was a nice duel. I tried to play it tactically in the end but it was too far to the finish. I saw him coming and knew it had lost,”

Lars van der Haar:
"Hmm not the place I wanted. But an okey cross for me. 6th in Hamme. Fastest race ever. With too much team play to make a reall difference.
I made some progress this year though. Doing good double weekends. And improving in the mud. Next is Hasselt. And then on trainingscamp."

1 Wout Van Aert (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Continental Team  
2 Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned) BKCP - Powerplus  
3 Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP - Powerplus  
4 Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan-AA Drink  
5 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team  
6 Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Development Team Giant-Shimano  
7 Jens Adams (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Continental Team  
8 Marcel Meisen (Ger) Corendon - Kwadro  
9 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Crelan - AA Drink  
10 Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) Corendon - Kwadro  
11 Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team  
12 Joeri Adams (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Cycling Team  
13 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team  
14 Rob Peeters (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Cycling Team  
15 Niels Wubben (Ned) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team  
16 Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team  
17 Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team  
18 Bart Aernouts (Bel) Corendon - KwadrO Cycling Team  
19 Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team  
20 Tim Merlier (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team  
21 Twan Van Den Brand (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team  
22 Patrick Gaudy (Bel) Veranclassic-Doltcini Cycling Team  
23 Gert-Jan Bosman (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continentaal Team  
24 Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Cycling Team  
25 Hendrik Sweeck (Bel) Corendon - KwadrO Cycling Team  
26 Radomir Simunek (Cze) Corendon - KwadrO Cycling Team  
27 Kevin Eeckhout (Bel) Van Assche-Alpha Motorhomes Cycling Team  
28 Stephen Hyde (USA)  
29 Severin Saegesser (Swi)  
30 Patrick Van Leeuwen (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team  
31 Kevin Cant (Bel) Corendon - KwadrO Cycling Team  
32 Bart Hofman (Bel) Nodrugs Heroes Flanders  
33 Cameron Jette (Can)  
34 Niels Koyen (Bel) CCN - Metalac Cycling team  
35 Michael Boros (Cze) CEZ Cyklo Team Tabor  
36 Mariusz Gil (Pol) Project Cross Racing  
37 Josep Betalu Constantino (Spa)

A pic from Paris: Andy Schleck (finally) got his TdF trophy

Andy Schleck with the Vase de Sèvres for the 2010 Tour de France.
According to Le Quotidien (and Cyclingnews in English) "the presentation was arranged by Luxembourg’s minister for foreign affairs, Jean Asselborn who said that he had taken note of Schleck’s disappointment at missing out on the Vase de Sèvres in an interview a couple of years ago:
“After he was disqualified, Contador never handed back the trophy. In October, when Andy took the decision to end his career, I said to myself that that was the moment, especially as I knew that François Hollande was a fan of Andy. He had spoken about him to me many times. He adored his style, his class on the bike…”
In add Andy and family have been received by France President Hollande in a private reception at the Élysées Palace:
“I am very honoured to have met Monsieur Le President,” Andy tweeted: Finally after 4 years.”


Cyclocross: Pauwels' power in Milton Keynes

Embedded image permalinkSweet sunny Saturday. Muddy race. The Frenchman Francis Mourey was probably thinking of a French kiss already to this muddy victory but some Belgians have stolen it at the last lap. Great race by him anyway, always in front, often leading. 
Embedded image permalinkSven Nys had mechanical problems, chased all the day and finished 8. Lars van der Haar didn't look brilliant on that heavy terrain but last week he was sick, so 4th is a very good result. According to Lars' team "the conditions were bad enough for Lars’s mechanics to say before the race that the strategy would be to change his Giant TCX Advanced Pro each lap of the race"!!
Special award for Ian Field who finished 12 in his homeland: the highest placement in cyclocross WC by a British rider. Bravo!

Kevin Pauwels:
"In the last round I followed Klaas Vantornhout.At the end I had also some problems with my back. It looks good, but this classification is certainly not definitive. Klaas and Tom are very close.
It was a very tough circuit with a lot of shouldering to be done.  I was having pain at my back but in the end I was still good enough to grab the win. "

Lars van der Haar:

"Podium in sight, pedals decided otherwise. Couldn't get in for a fair sprint :( But I'm satisfied with my progress on courses like this. 4th"

1 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team 1:03:01  
2 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team 0:00:01  
3 Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:00:16  
4 Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Development Team Giant-Shimano 0:00:19  
5 Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP - Powerplus 0:00:43  
6 Corné Van Kessel (Nedl) Telenet - Fidea 0:00:58  
7 Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet - Fidea 0:01:00  
8 Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan-AA Drink 0:01:12  
9 Bart Aernouts (Bel) Corendon - Kwadro 0:01:32  
10 Rob Peeters (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Continental Team 0:01:38  
11 Fabien Canal (Fra) Look - Beaumes De Venise 0:01:41  
12 Ian Field (GBr) 0:01:47  
13 Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Corendon - Kwadro 0:01:53  
14 Jonathan Page (USA) 0:01:55  
15 Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet - Fidea 0:02:01  
16 Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team 0:02:04  
17 Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) Scott-Odlo Mtb Racing Team  
18 Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet - Fidea 0:02:06  
19 Sascha Weber (Ger) Veranclassic - Doltcini 0:02:22  
20 Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team 0:02:35  
21 David Van Der Poel (Ned) BKCP - Powerplus 0:02:48  
22 Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Telenet - Fidea 0:02:57  
23 Jens Adams (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Continental Team 0:03:16  
24 Michael Boros (Cze) 0:03:23  
25 Jeremy Powers (USA) Rapha-Focus 0:03:27  
26 Marcel Meisen (Ger) Corendon - Kwadro 0:03:51  
27 Radomir Simunek (Cze) Corendon - Kwadro 0:04:02  
28 Tim Merlier (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team 0:04:04  
29 Mariusz Gil 0:04:07  
30 Niels Wubben (Ned) Telenet - Fidea 0:04:38  
31 Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibanez (Spa) 0:04:45  
32 Jack Clarkson (GBr) 0:05:21  
33 Flavien Dassonville (Fra) Bigmat - Auber 93 0:05:45  
34 Lubomir Petrus (Cze) BKCP - Powerplus 0:05:49  
35 Twan Van Den Brand (Ned) Cyclingteam Jo Piels 0:06:14  
36 Jeremy Durrin (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategie 0:06:25  
37 Kenneth Hansen (Den) 0:06:39  
38 Steven James (GBr) 0:06:52  
39 Steven James (GBr) 0:07:08  
40 Ben Sumner (GBr) 0:07:14  
41 Martin Gujan (Swi) Orange Monkey Pro Team 0:07:50  
42 Alex Paton (GBr) 0:08:00  
43 Jody Crawforth (GBr) 0:08:05  
44 Gusty Bausch (Lux)  
45 Nicholas Barnes (GBr)  
46 Ramon Sagues Portabella (Spa)  
47 Jack Ravenscroft (GBr)  
48 David Montgomery (Irl)  
49 Glen Kinning (Irl)  
50 Mark Mcconnell (Can)  
51 Timothy O'regan (Irl)  
52 Angus Edmond (NZl)

1. Kevin Pauwels
2. Klaas Vantornout
3. Corné Van Kessel
4. Philpp Walsleben
5. Lars van der Haar


Vincenzo Nibali stays with Astana (and my opinion)

Vincenzo Nibali, Lombardia 2013
Nibali is near here, in Montecatini Terme, for the first team meeting and given that his team is Astana questions weren't just about next seasons' goal in the press day. He said he'll stay.

Vincenzo Nibali
At this moment in the season, it'd be crazy. Where would I go? If I move, then at least six other people would have to come with me. Astana has invested in us. We're working hard and working well. In the last two years with Astana I've obtained the biggest success of my career, I've won the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France. Within the team, there's a group of Italian people who have worked with me, people like Slongo my coach and the riders who are part of my group.
No, Astana isn't going to loose the World Tour status, it won't happen. I don't think it will happen. The most recent events have nothing to do with us. This is the Astana WorldTour team, not Astana 2. I understand action has been taken. As far as I understand the Astana 2 team will be suspended and there'll be some changes. But Astana 2 is not the Astana WorldTour team. The only link to the Continental team was via Dmitriy Sedoun. He was the team manager of Astana 2 and directeur sportif with us. But he's been removed.
I don't even know what the three guys on the Continental look like. I don't know why they've done it. They were in a development team and had a chance of getting a place in the WorldTour team. My thought on it is that they were desperate to turn pro and get a good contract.
As far as my season: we decided that I'll start off at the Dubai Tour, then probably ride Oman or do a training camp on Mount Teide, then it's Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo and Ardennes ClassicsHowever my programme is flexible and I've got the power to choose my programme based on my form.
The Giro is the Giro, it's special for me and for the Italian fans. It's a race I've won and want to win again. I've got to go back sometime, even if it could be more logical in 2016. My goal is the Tour but there's a door open, a chance, that I could ride the Giro and we'd decide if it's to go for the overall classification or not. But I honestly don't know if I'll ride. Because during the spring, it’s the time I have to work hard for the Tour at training camps. It could be an experiment but I'll decide during the season.”

My opinion
Yep, it's probably late to leave. But why did you sign for a team like Astana? Honestly I can't find other than money as an answer. Money are important. A team built around you with a lot of money is great. But it's hard to accept that the World Team Astana has nothing to do with the Continental team, that the Iglinsky bothers did all on their own, that Vinokurov had his problems ok but it's all over. I firmely believe that Vincenzo Nibali is a clean rider, moreover that Paolo Slongo is a serious coach. And just for that I don't like to see them by Astana. Ok, next season is too close. But after that you must change team or your team must change. 

Good Old New Sanremo: the route


Three Days In Rome: San Pietro Gallery

Ponte Sant'Angelo
On our 3rd day in Rome we went to San Pietro and that's the Parable of the Talents that Pope Francesco read and commentated. I'm not a Christian but I think that Jesus was a good guy. Also the comment wasn't bad at all.
Enjoy it together with my photos!

Matthew 25:14-30
14"Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.

Ponte Sant'Angelo
19"After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.'

21"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'

22"The man with the two talents also came. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.'

23"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'

24"Then the man who had received the one talent came. 'Master,' he said, 'I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.'
Papa Francesco
26"His master replied, 'You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

Piazza San Pietro
Swiss guard
Rome from Cupola di San Pietro
Piazza San Pietro from the Cupola
Osservatorio di Monte Mario from the Cupola
Vittoriano from the Cupola
Inside the Cupola
On the Cupola
San Pietro
San Pietro
Pietà by Michelangelo in San Pietro
Basilica di San Pietro
Basilica di San Pietro
Basilica di San Pietro
Basilica di San Pietro
Basilica di San Pietro
Piazza San Pietro
28" 'Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' 

Happy Birthday Bauke!

"Don't worry, I won't eat it all by myself! ‪#‎Birthday‬"

Bauke Mollema is one of my favourite riders. MY favourite rider after Andy Schleck so maybe I should say he's 'my rider' given that Andy restired.
It's weird because Mollema is going to take the place of Andy by Trek Factory Racing, as team leader in the grand tours and in the Tour de France especially.
The Dutch is a strong climber but also a good chronoman - when on the right bike! Moreover he's a strong minded guy, dedicated and hard worker.
I don't know him personally but following his fb page I see he's well determined to achieve his goals. And he shoots high. 
I'm sure he's going to score high too, with support of a team like Trek Factory Racing, still in progress but with a strong core of riders and a fantastic staff, to begin with the Team Manager (and coach) Luca Guercilena.

Happy Birthday Bauke!

Three Days In Rome 3: Nature is alone undying

San Pietro in Fall
...and the undying beauty. As far as I see it we are in the world to make it better and, in spite it isn't the way it often goes, walking in Rome without a specific aim, just looking around and breathing the scent of the city I can say sometimes we succeed.
Don't get me wrong: Rome has got a tons of problems. But the feeling of something great, good and beautiful that ostinately refuses to die is as strong as when Shelley wrote. Nature in its autumnal disguise - red, gold, green and brown - the dirty white of palaces, statues, fountains built for the eternity, the melting pot of languages and faces in Campo dei Fiori, the spirit of Giordano Bruno, still free, still rebel, still calling infinite the universe and still burning of his freedom... nothing can dull that.

So on Sunday we cross the Tevere again and go to the center of the city, under a blue sky but expecting rain in the late afternoon.
I come from Florence, I'm used to meet beauty at every step. But in Rome a lavish, sumptuous glory takes the place of the linear, bare Republican beauty. In Florence it's a civil art, human and popular. In Rome it's about a Pope that is also a King and representing god on the earth. It's the modern greatness challenging the ancient greatness. An stunning excalation.
As in Florence, almost each corner has got its 'tabernacolo' with an holy image and a light. In the ancient ages those little altar were dedicated to the worship of ancenstors (Lari) and that's why they are placed on a private house wall. When Christianity took the place of Paganism, Saints, Jesus and Mary found a perfect collocation: everywhere Romans were reminded of their feith and lately also of their King Pope. 
A 'tabernacolo'
For a very long time the 'tabernacolo' lights have been the only public lights, making the streets relatively safe at night. The most of them are masterpieces of art.
The ancient Rome was dotted of big statues featuring gods, goodness and important people. Time and wars have worked on them and so did the popular creativity of the Romans that renamed them as 'Statue parlanti': talking statues. They were included in rituals and popular feasts, adornated with vegetables or flowers. The most famous is Pasquino, used to 'talk' against the political power, to protest against the injustice and to publicaly denounce hypocrisy and corruption. People used - and still use! - to hang anonymous papers with critical and satirical writtens on the statue to avoid the censure. Pasquino talked for commun people as well as for famous poets like Belli (1791-1863) and Trilussa (1971-1950), the last one a brilliant enemy of the Fascist dictature.
But Rome has never stopped to rise statues to celebrate the power or its enemies. 
Giordano Bruno got his one in 1889  (by Ettore Ferrari) on the exact place where he was burnt alive in 1600. That's a popular square, with a popular Sunday market making a nice contrast with the hooded obstinate figure on the pedestal.
Giordano Bruno in Campo dei Fiori
A completely different story tells Piazza Navona: in the center stands the famous Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (1651) by Bernini, topped by the Obelisk of Domitian, and in face of it the church of Sant'Agnese in Agone by Borromini. These two were fierce contenders for the name of best artist in Rome, that became the field of their rivalry. As a results... splendid!
On the square there are other two monumental fountains by Della Porta and Palazzo  Pamphili by Girolamo Rainaldi. Plastic, theatrical, playing with shadows and lights. Not my kind of art but still a stunning stuff!
And even the sky seems in style: the slightly veiled blue of the early morning has turned dark, dramaticly decorated by baroque clouds. A coffee by the superlative Caffè San'Eustachio and it's time to hurry up to San Pietro where at noon Pope Francesco will talk from a vindow in front of a mass of believers, tourists, curiouses and peddlers.
Piazza Navona
After that we climb atop the Cupola by Brunelleschi (bigger, not more beautiful of its sister in Florence, as he said) and vist the Basilica, rich of gold, marble and art beyond any concept. In a lateral cappella there is the Pietà by Michelangelo, so white and sweet, a child Mary quite different from the other works of Michelangelo. And the only one with his name on it. Charming.
Hungry and exhausted we eat in the first restaurant we see and it happens to be a very good one (Dal Toscano). In spite of the name it offers also typical Roman food.
When we get out, the clouds have stopped to be baroque and it's raining cats and dogs. Fortunately we are close to the sole line of the Rome's underground that brings us directly to Termini rail station
We stop to buy some cannoli alla siciliana by Trombetta, a must of the popular Rome and we dare again the rain to vist some last places that in the morning were closed for the Sunday Mass: Santa Maria della Vittoria with a breathtaking Santa Teresa by Bernini (simply wow! don't miss it!), San Luigi dei Francesi, with the 'Ciclo di San Matteo' by Caravaggio (pity that the paints are bad placed) and the Pantheon: one of the most incredible monument in the world.
The Pantheon was "commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus (27 BC - 14 AD) and rebuilt by the emperor Hadrian about 126 AD." It's circular "with a portico of large granite Corinthian columns under a pediment. A rectangular vestibule links the porch to the rotunda, which is under a coffered concrete dome, with a central opening (oculus) to the sky. Almost two thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon's dome is still the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome. The height to the oculus and the diameter of the interior circle are the same, 43.3 metres." The Catholic Rome easily took from the ancient Rome the legacy of an universal empire, no more on bodies but on souls. 
The Pantheon was meant as a temple for all the gods worshipped in the Roman Empire, then Christ became the one for all, and the ancient temple is still a church. But through the oculus you can see the sky, a no name 'deus sive natura', 'god or nature' as the pantheist Spinoza used to say.

Our three days in Rome are over but I still have a gallery to post, all about San Pietro: stay tuned!


Velon: The Breaking League Reloaded? What they say and my opinion.

They cut it short on their site:

"Velon is a joint business venture of eleven UCI World Tour cycling teams with three founding principles:
More exciting sport: more entertaining racing for the fans, looking for a race calendar that tells a season long story and is better understood by a growing international fan base.

New technology: bring the race alive from the rider’s perspective, showing the fans what it’s like from the
Underpinned by sustainable, credible teams the fans can follow now and long into the future. Creating a new, better economic future for the sport, through collective action and increased co-operation between the teams, other stakeholders and the UCI.
Velon’s founding members are:
Ø Belkin Pro Cycling
Ø BMC Racing
Ø Garmin-Sharp
Ø Lampre-Merida
Ø Lotto-Belisol
Ø Omega Pharma - Quick-Step
Ø Orica-GreenEDGE
Ø Team Giant-Shimano
Ø Team Sky
Ø Tinkoff-Saxo
Ø Trek Factory Racing
Velon wants to create a new economic future for the sport and bring fans closer to the riders, races and teams - by working together and in partnership with others.
Velon, making cycling better."

To me, it sounds good. Especially combinated with a true evolution in the UCI politics, according with Cookson's elections program. From Italy it's obvious that pro cycling as it is now doesn't work and one of the crucial points is: who gets the money and what it does with it. Big races organizers - ASO but also RCS - must stop killing races and teams in order to accumulate profits. The old 'breaking league (Bruyneel style) was much more 'liberist' and less 'cooperative'. I see here the Trek style and honestly like it. 


Team Tinkoff-Saxo:
The company has been created to work on behalf of these teams for new business creation. Each team is represented on the board and Graham Bartlett (formerly of UEFA, Nike and other major sports brands) has been appointed as CEO. 
Bartlett said: “The existing, sponsor only, business model is fragile for all teams. We need to change this to a more rounded one with fans at the heart of it, investing in new technological initiatives to generate greater excitement from the races and bring the sport closer to its fans. The company will look to use the combined commitment of the teams to create new revenues. This combined commitment can help to deliver more of what the fans want to see from the sport – exciting races brought to life with great technology. What we’re trying to build will hopefully create a virtuous circle where it’s easier for fans to engage with the teams and riders and gives the teams even greater incentives to maintain credibility.” The first example of Velon’s work came earlier this year, when these teams got together to work with their riders and the race organisers to implement on-bike cameras during the races. “This could only have been negotiated and delivered with the organisers by having a unified group. Initially co-operating with IMG for the Tour de Suisse and then continuing with A.S.O. at the Tour de France, the Vuelta and a number of other big races in the calendar. By using new technology, and by working very closely with the race organisers, the teams were able to capture fantastic, never seen before footage showing the riders in spectacular fashion and the response from the fans was even better than we expected.” 
The Tour de Suisse on-bike camera videos syndicated to Cyclingnews and InCycle (which is also an IMG Media/Velon collaboration) were viewed over 1 million times. The appeal of the footage from bike cameras at the Vuelta a España is evident in this 1-minute report about Tinkoff-Saxo, aired during the prime-time newscast on Spain's national TV network and reaching more than 1 million viewers.
Fans and financial partners must trust the sport and the teams must be open, honest and transparent. The integrity of cycling is also the foundation for a healthy following, increased investment and further growth. This must be based on a sound, stable business model for the teams.
Tinkoff-Saxo CEO, Stefano Feltrin:
“The will and desire to change is clear from the work we have been doing for more than the past year with the other teams who are part of Velon. Together with the excellent collaborative spirit of all the founding teams, and the use of a commercial joint venture into which the teams have transferred valuable intellectual property, we have the right ingredients to create lasting change for the benefit of fans, riders, teams and other stakeholders in our sport.”
Tinkoff-Saxo rider, Michael Rogers:

“Velon is setting in motion an interesting structure and unification of the world’s highest level cycling teams within professional road cycling. Together with the introduction of the latest technology, teams will have the platform to deliver thrilling experiences to fans from all corners of the globe.”

Team Belkin
Richard Plugge: “This group of teams have been talking for some time about how to better shape the future of the sport by collaborating with all other stakeholders. Now, we’ve formally come together to help develop ways for professional cycling to grow, to create long term stability for teams and credible and comprehensive racing. We’ve already made a difference, giving fans better insights and exciting views from inside the race. We want to bring the sport where it belongs, in the hearts and minds of the fans.”
Robert Gesink: “I feel this collaboration is a great step forward. During the several races last season we have given the fans great images from the on-bike cams and our live stream in the Vuelta. It’s unique to see a great number of World Tour teams working together for the future of the sport, the teams, the riders and the audience. During the race we battle, but after the finish we work as a team for a better future of cycling. It helps building a better structure and financial stability.”
Wilco Kelderman: “It’s a great initiative to have a transparent and attractive sport for the fans and stakeholders. As a team we have tried to give cycling back to the fans and create an upbeat future over the last few years. Now we can share knowledge with several World Tour teams to take the next steps. I already have given the fans an insight on Strava during the Giro, now we can work on greater initiatives.”

Team BMC
President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz: "We have already made a difference, giving fans better insights and exciting views from inside the race. Now, we have formally come together to help develop ways for professional cycling to grow, for the benefit of those already involved and the growing number of those who want to get more deeply involved in this great sport.” Through Velon, the group will continue to work on partnerships with other stakeholders in the sport, including the UCI, race organizers, and the Association International des Groupes Cyclistes Professionels (AIGCP).

Team Sky
Principal Dave Brailsford: “Collaboration is the cornerstone to positive change and as such this is very exciting for professional cycling and a big step towards the sport reaching its full potential. The teams involved in creating Velon have come together with a powerful shared vision to optimise the sport and develop new ways for professional cycling to grow. 
If the teams unite and work collectively with other key stakeholders to make cycling better to watch, easier to understand and get guaranteed commercial support it’s to everyone’s benefit and will encourage even more fans to follow the sport we love.”
Chris Froom: “As we can see from official figures the popularity of cycling continues to grow. More people want to ride and as we saw from the incredible support in the UK this year at the Tour de France more want to be involved in the sport. 
With the development of Velon, it will allow the teams to work together and help find new innovations to grow the sport, keep fans excited and attract new followers.”

Omega Pharma - Quick-Step
Bessel Kok (Board's Executive Chairman):
“Being the main actors of the sport, this is an excellent achievement for our professional cycling teams to unify and work together in a common way, to defend and mutually increase their commercial interests in the sport. This new commercial structure will allow the teams to develop a range of commercial activities and create additional revenue streams other than traditional sponsorship.”
Patrick Lefevere (team’s CEO): “I am confident this can increase the margin of growth of cycling. The sport is growing year-by-year, and we need new and professional structures to be able to increase and defend our common goals. As teams we are competitors during races. However, outside this world there is a lot we can do together to gain more popularity and to become in the future one of the main sports, considering how many people love professional cycling and people who also use cycling as a recreational activity. The market is huge and this is the first step to improve and to enter into a new era for cycling.”
Mark Cavendish: “It will be important to make our sport even better, more understandable, and more marketable for people outside the cycling world. I believe that this kind of project is important to enlarge our fan base and to increase the awareness of our sport internationally, using, for example, technology as we show in the recent past with on board bike cameras.”
Tom Boonen: “I am looking forward to seeing what this can provide for the sport, teams, and the riders. It is important to create greater stability for the teams to give the new generation of cyclists a secure environment in which to develop into the stars of the future. It is exciting to see so many teams now working together to do just that.”

Team Trek Factory Racing
General Manager Luca Guercilena: “The teams share a series of priorities to bring to the table of professional cycling. All eleven Velon teams believe a strong commercial entity representing them is essential to develop cycling. The optimism for the future of our sport in the group is telling. Trek Factory Racing is happy and proud to be a part of this project.”
Fabian Cancellara: “The teams have a story to tell and it is through a project like Velon that they can be sure that story is heard. The on-bike cameras were a first example of the soul and strength of the collaboration between the teams and the other stakeholders in cycling.”