Richie Porte says leaving Team Sky an option to achieve individual success

The Herald Sun reports that “Richie Porte has vowed to leave Team Sky in pursuit of more individual glory”.

“As much as I love being there and being the wingman, it’s not what I always want to do,” Porte told the Herald Sun. “I’ve shown by winning Paris-Nice and coming second in the Dauphine and Basque, they’re pretty big races in the sport. I think the next move for me is two more years at Sky, but then I really think I need to get out and ride in a team where I’ll be the leader.”

Tour de France 2013 stage-18

“I was there in situations where it was Froome, (Alberto) Contador and Porte and I was thinking, ‘Well, I need to start being a little bit more selfish next year and ride for myself’,” Porte said.

“I think that’s going to happen more. I’ll have the opportunity to ride in the Giro and ride for myself.

“For me, the dream is to win a Grand Tour, any Grand Tour. I’ve been out of Australia long enough to realise there are other races other than the Tour. Looking ahead, there’s not too many guys who have won a Grand Tour in their career and I guess that’s always been the dream over there.”

This season Richie Porte signed another two year contract with Team Sky which expires at the end of 2015.

Read more on the Herald Sun

Astana unveils 2014 jersey

astana2014Astana Pro Team General Manager Alexander Vinokurov revealed the official 2014 jersey on Tuesday in Almaty at a press conference announcing the creation of a charity fund in his name and the publication of a book surveying his career in cycling.

Vinokurov, who won gold in London last year at the Summer Olympics, said the team’s 2014 jersey remains largely unchanged, with the addition of a new sponsor.

“The blue and gold national colors of Kazakhstan are unique in pro cycling, and they make our riders very distinct in the peloton. We are fortunate to remain with our main sponsor, the national welfare fund Samruk-Kazyna, and join their Astana Presidential Club of sports teams. Those logos will retain a place of pride on our race clothing,” Vinokurov said.

Read more on the Astana Pro Cycling Team website

Michele Acquarone, former Giro boss, officially fired by RCS sports

Tuttobici reports that former director of the Giro d’Italia Michele Acquarone has been sacked by RCS Sports (the company which owns the Giro) following an internal investigation into the misappropriation of €13M from the company’s accounts. media relations director, Matteo Pastore and former CEO, Giacomo Catano.

Michele Acquarone, former Director of the Giro d'Italia

Michele Acquarone, former Director of the Giro d’Italia

The story had begun in early October, when RCS had issued a statement in which it announced that, after an ‘administrative checks’ as a result of internal audit as to the nature of certain banking transactions carried out with affiliated associations of RCS Sport but not in the scope of the consolidated Group, Michele Acquarone, Giacomo Catano and the Director of External Relations and Rights of RCS Sport, Matthew Shepherd, had been suspended on a ‘precautionary’ and ‘discipline’.

Acquarone, 41 years old from Sanremo, maintains his innocence. He scheduled a press conference in Milan for Thursday, Dec 5, to explain his side of the story.

Acquarone was an avid user of social media and his last tweet about 24hrs ago was this:

Read more on Tuttobiciweb (Italian) or on Cycling Weekly.

Lance Armstrong warms to challenge from triathlete Chris McCormack

Lance Armstrong may be serving a lifetime ban from nearly every sport on Earth, but that doesn’t stop him from competing against the best. Chris McCormack, a two-time winner at Hawaii Ironman, is keen to organise a one-on-one private race against the Armstrong that would not involve any sanctioning.

Armstrong’s Twitter post on Tuesday suggested he is open to the idea:

The Twitter post came a day after a video interview with McCormack was posted on the Triathlete Magazine website.

“Lance has done some horrible things and some amazing things athletically,” McCormack said.

“You know, he’s still a competitor, and I’ve always been inspired by racing competitors.

“I read an interview recently, where he believed he could win the Ironman world championships.

“I’m like ‘Hey man, you can’t go and make those sorts of statements without backing them up – so if you really think you can win the Ironman world championships, come and race me’.

Let’s wait and see what happens.

Grand Boucle to tour Arc de Triomphe in 2014

Tour de France organisers on Tuesday revealed they have obtained permission from the Paris police chief to round the Arc de Triomphe in 2014.

Tour de France 2013 stage-21

The world’s greatest cycling race has finished on the Champs Elysees every year since 1975 but back in July, for the first time, the route extended along the entire length of the most famous road in Paris to include a ride around the iconic Arc de Triomphe.

When the original route for the 2014 Tour was published in September, organisers Amaury Sports Organisation had said the Arc was off limits for 2014 but they have now received the green light from local police.

“The police commissioner has given his agreement for a route identical to that of 2013,” Tour de France assistant director Pierre-Yves Thouault told AFP.

“The success of the 2013 Tour convinced us to include the same route which allows us to best promote the race as much as the monuments.”

One change from this year, though, is that in traversing the River Seine from the Rive Gauche to the Rive Droite before beginning the circuits of the Champs Elysees, the route will take the peloton over the Alexandre III bridge opposite the Grand Palais and Petit Palais, instead of the Pont du Carrousel directly in front of the Louvre museum.

Tour de France 2013 stage-21

Next year’s final stage will finish a little earlier than this year’s did, though, with the eighth and final circuit of the Champs Elysees due to end at around 7:30 pm local time.

For the 100th edition of the Grand Boucle in July, a later finish was programmed in order to allow for a night-time illumination of the Arc de Triomphe as part of the award ceremony.

Kenyan-born Chris Froome became the second Briton in a row to win the Tour, succeeding compatriot Bradley Wiggins who in 2012 was the first ever rider from the other side of the Channel to finish top of the pile at the end of the July extravaganza.

The 21st and final stage of next year’s Tour will take place on Sunday, July 27.

text via AFP

Timmy Duggan announces retirement

Timmy Duggan (Saxo-Tinkoff) announced his retirement from professional cycling on his personal website late Monday, finishing a career that began in 2005. The 31-year-old spent nine years in the pro ranks, coming up to through Garmin organization in its early years.


After a roller-coaster of thoughts and emotions in recent months, I have decided to retire from professional cycling. I am ready and truly excited to move on to my next goals in life outside of the sport.

This offseason, while pondering a new team and my situation for the 2014 season, I’ve had time to reflect, to think, and to live. During the extended period of time that it was taking for a verbal agreement I had with Team Cannondale to materialize, I was able to spend more time with my wife, family, friends, and community than I have in my whole career. I really thought about and FELT my life outside of cycling more than I ever have. I felt ALIVE again. It has become clear how important some other things are to me and how much I’m missing.

This decision has been coming for a while. The 2013 season was probably the most difficult of my career, dealing with a devastating broken leg throughout the year. In the ambulance to the hospital with my season-threatening injury, I began to question if this was worth it anymore. Despite plenty of support and being surrounded by incredible teammates and team staff at Saxo-Tinkoff, I hated nearly every day of the season, I was miserable and depressed. It is incredibly frustrating as an athlete to not be able to be at your best, and, even worse, I wasn’t sure if I really wanted it any more.

Read more on on Timmy Duggan’s personal website or on Velonation

Southern Europe joins north in bike revolution

Pedals versus horsepower, two wheels against four: cycling has the upper hand in Europe with bike sales now outpedalling car sales across the Old Continent, from Rome to Copenhagen.

More bicycles were sold than cars last year in 26 of the European Union’s 28 members, the exceptions being Belgium and Luxembourg, according to data from the cycle industry body Coliped and the auto industry association ACEA.

Car sales have been slumping since the start of Europe’s economic crisis, in what the head of FIAT Sergio Marchionne has gloomily dubbed a “Carmageddon”, settling at 12 million units for the EU excluding Malta last year.

By contrast bikes have proved pretty much crisis-proof with 19.7 million sold Europe-wide in 2012 according to Coliped.

The phenomenon spreads well beyond the traditional “bicycle capitals” of northern Europe, Amsterdam and Copenhagen.

In southern European countries — many of them traditionally car-mad — the shift is striking, with Italians buying 1.6 million bikes against 1.4 million cars in 2012.

“The economic crisis has had an impact on all areas of people’s lives, including on transport,” said Giulietta Pagliaccio, head of the Italian cycling federation Fiab.

“But there has also been a small revolution in terms of lifestyle.”

Italy’s cycle manufacturer Bianchi agrees that change is on the march.

“Customers these days want bikes they can commute with, and top of the range. They are looking for long-term investments,” said Bianchi’s head Bob Ippolito, whose firm recently branched out into electric bikes.

“That backs up the sense that people are turning away from cars.”

Milan has been one of the latest European cities to roll out a bike-sharing scheme, dubbed “Bikemi”, on the model of the Parisian “Velib”, as well as extending its network of cycle lanes.

For the Bucharest in-crowd, cycling is now the way to roll, with fashionable bars featuring bicycles as design objects and collective bike rides staged on a weekly basis.

In Spain, 780,000 bikes were sold last year against 700,000 cars, in spite of complaints from bike users who say the country’s cities remain dangerous on two wheels.

Madrid is rolling out a new bike rental scheme next year, and has unveiled plans for a “green ring” of cycle paths looping 10 kilometres around the city centre.

According to Spain’s road traffic agency, while the number of cyclists is steady, they are using their bikes more and more often. Cycle use for everyday journeys has jumped from 17 to 30 percent.

In austerity-hit Portugal cyclist numbers are on the rise in cities like Lisbon and Porto, although not so much in the country’s mountainous regions.

Bike sales reached 350,000 last year, against just over 95,000 cars.

“There are more and more people cycling, as a fashion thing, but also for economic reasons,” said Pedro Carvalho, head of the magazine “B-Cultura de Bicicleta”.

On the streets of London, bicycles are now as common a sight as black cabs or red double-decker buses, with journeys by bike up 66 percent over a decade.

The city is now under pressure to provide more safe, segregated cycle lanes, despite a pledge to invest £1 billion ($1.6 billion, 1.2 billion euros) over the next decade.

As young Europeans switch to two wheels in droves, the car may be losing some of its appeal as a status symbol.

That was certainly true for 23-year-old Parisian Hugo Clair, who gave up his car and replaced it with two bicycles.

“With fuel costs going up, it was really grating to have to spend 100 euros a month just to keep a car on the road.”

text via AFP

Study finds that athletes struggle to keep hard days hard, and easy days easy

I’m always harping on about hard rides being not hard enough, and easy days being too hard. Well here’s a study of Dutch soccer players just published in the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, where researchers at the University of Groningen followed the athletes for an entire season, recording how hard the coaches intended each training session to be (white bars), and how hard the players perceived each session to be (black bars).


The conclusion indicates that the players perceived easy sessions to be significantly harder than intended, and hard sessions to be significantly easier than intended. These differences could lead to maladaptation to training.

Read more in Runners World and see the full study here.

Movember reaches $101,000 in funds raised!

At the beginning of November we put a call-out to all our readers and friends to participate in Movember and raise money and awareness towards men’s health issues. It’s now December and after a month of fundraising we’re proud to report that you guys have raised over $100k. That’s an incredible effort and contribution towards an important cause.

To name some of our top fundraisers:

Individual leaderboard

Team leaderboard
4 HELLS 500 AUD $5,408 AU

Thank you to absolutely everyone who participated and contributed.

The Rocacorba Recap

And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed:

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