Tom Jelte Slagter to miss the Tour Down Under; Rohan Dennis to lead Garmin-Sharp

Dutchman Tom Jelte Slagter won’t return to Adelaide in January to defend his Tour Down Under crown, opting to stay home for the birth of his first child.

The Santos Tour Down Under 2013 stage-3

Slagter, who won last year’s edition while riding for Team Blanco, left the renamed Team Belkin at the end of this season for Garmin-Sharp and had been planning on a return to Adelaide.

Australian Rohan Dennis will instead take up the reins for Garmin-Sharp in an attempt to replicate his late-season victory at the Tour of Alberta.

Garmin-Sharp team boss Jonathan Vaughters said:

“Rohan really wants to try and win it and he’s from Adelaide. I think he can win the race and this way we have one leader.”

Click here to read more at Cycling News.

Gerrans eyes off third Jayco Herald Sun Tour title

Tour de France stage winner Simon Gerrans has set himself for a explosive start to the 2014 season, with eyes firmly fixed on a third Jayco Herald Sun Tour victory in February.

winner Simon Gerrans happily on his way to the podium

Gerrans, who became just the sixth Australian in history to wear the Tour de France yellow jersey in his most successful season to date, returns to his home race in pursuit of a trio of Sun Tour victories, following his back-to-back win in 2005 and 2006.

“The Jayco Herald Sun Tour is a race that I grew up watching as a kid and it was always such a big highlight of my season early in my career so it’s always great to have the opportunity to go back and compete in the race again and with an Aussie professional team as well,” Gerrans said.

A victory for the 33-year-old would make him just the fourth rider in history to win the Tour on three separate occasions – alongside Barry Waddell, Graham McVilly and race director John Trevorrow.

Victoria’s oldest and most prestigious stage race returns to a UCI 2.1 international level in 2014 and moves to a new February timeslot for five days of thrilling racing from Wednesday 5 to Sunday 9.

Text via Jayco Herald Sun Tour press release. Click here to read more.

Nathan Earle to debut Sky colours at road nationals

Tasmania’s Nathan Earle has confirmed he will debut the black and blue colours of Team Sky at the MARS Cycling Australia Road National Championships in Ballarat from January 8.


A breakthrough 2013 season from Earle was highlighted by a runner up finish in the Subaru National Road Series, an overall win at the New Zealand Cycle Classic and stage victories at the Herald Sun Tour, Tour of Taiwan and UCI 2.1 Tour of Japan.

“It’s going to be very exciting riding in Ballarat in the Team Sky colours,” Earle said. “The Road Nationals are one of the first races of the year and the atmosphere is always great.”

Known for his strong climbing abilities, Earle says he is happy with the 2014 MARS Road National Championship road race course, and believes winning a green and gold jersey is a strong possibility.

“It definitely is [within my reach] and I always aim to do well at the nationals, it would be amazing to be a national champion,” Earle said.

After fine-tuning his skills at a Team Sky training camp overseas, Earle will arrive back in Australia later this month, ready to launch his assault down under. Earle will compete in the criterium on Thursday January 9 on Sturt Street Ballarat at 7pm before lining up for the elite men’s road race on Sunday January 12, Buninyong at 1.30pm.

Text via Cycling Australia press release.

2013 Report Card: Team Sky

A few weeks back we shared a link to a series of articles Cycling News is running, rating the performances of all the WorldTour teams in 2013. The latest addition is Team Sky.

96mo Giro d'Italia - Seconda tappa

The British squad finished second overall in the WorldTour rankings and managed a total of 35 victories for the 2013 season.

Chris Froome (2nd) and Richie Porte (10th) were the only Team Sky riders in the individual rider classification’s top 10 with Sergio Henao 18th and Rigoberto Uran 27th.

Team Sky’s report card shows great success in stage races — including wins at the Tour de France, Paris-Nice and second overall at the Giro d’Italia — but plenty of room for improvement in the Spring Classics.

Stages races will again be the focus for 2014 while Bradley Wiggins’ role on the team seems yet to be fully understood.

Click here to read more.

Astana and Franco Pellizotti part ways

As Astana Pro Team’s full-status membership in the MPCC (Movement for Credible Cycling) prevents Franco Pellizotti from racing for the first half of next season, the team and rider have mutually agreed not to sign a contract for 2014.

Tour de France 2009 20e etappe

“It’s with some sadness and a heavy heart that we will not be racing with Franco Pellizotti next year,” Astana Pro Team General Manager Vinokurov said.

“Negotiations with the Italian Champion have always been optimistic and forthright, but in the end we agreed that we could not go forward with a contract to race with Astana Pro Team in 2014,” Vinokurov said.

“Pellizotti is in the prime of his career. On a personal level we respect his choices. We wish him success and good luck in the next season. I take this opportunity to wish a full and speedy recovery to his agent Alex Carrera, whose very serious car accident in Italy last month scared us all and shows how important it is to be thankful just to be alive,” Vinokurov said.

With riders like Sammy Sanchez, Chris Horner, Igor Anton and Luis Leon Sanchez still without a contract for next year, among many other riders, there will be no shortage of options should Astana decide to fill the position.

Text via Astana press release.

Betancur eyes off Tour de France debut in 2014

After being one of the revelations of this year’s Giro d’Italia, Carlos Betancur appears set to make his Tour de France debut in 2014.

“There’s no doubt that I want to try the Tour de France. I know what it’s like to ride the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España, but I’m missing the Tour,” Betancur told Revista Mundo Ciclistico. “I want to know how this race suits me, and God willing, I’ll ride my first Tour next year.”

Betancur is likely to lead the Ag2r-La Mondiale team at Le Tour with Domenico Pozzovivo set to return to the Giro.

Betancur will likely begin his season at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina before focusing on the Tour of the Basque Country, the Ardennes Classics and the Tour de Romandie.

Click here to read more at Cycling News.

Horner’s asking price too high for Androni-Venezuela

Vuelta a Espana winner Chris Horner is still without a team for 2014 and the manager of the Androni-Venezuela team has confirmed that the 42-year-old won’t be joining their ProContinental squad next season.

stage-20 of the Vuelta a EspaÒa 2013

Gianna Savio told VeloNews that he doesn’t have the funds to sign Horner and that doing so would be against team philosophy which focuses on signing younger riders.

“My budget is only 2.5 million euros, so you can understand why I cannot sign a rider like Horner,” Savio said. “I have to be realistic.”

Horner has reportedly been asking for 1 million euros per season since winning the Vuelta.

Click here to read more at CyclingQuotes.

Alonso promises Formula One influences for new team

Spanish F1 driver Fernando Alonso has promised to bring the experience he’s gained and the contacts he’s developed in the motorsport industry over to cycling when he unveils his pro team in 2015.

“There are 40 people working on a cycling team, and I want to be able to count on people who can do their job without me having to call every day, because my job is to race Formula One,” Alonso toldL’Equipe.

“I will include people I know from my experience racing car, someone from Benetton, others from Renault, someone from timing from Ferrari. I want to create a team of people that I confide in 100 percent, who enjoy their work, and do it with passion.”

Alonso is confident that the team will debut at the WorldTour level in 2015 and has said that preparations are “advancing well”.

“Things are going well and I am impatient, but there’s still a lot of work ahead of us in terms of organization and ideas we can incorporate from Formula One,” Alonso told L’Equipe.

“Telemetry, for example, opens up a lot of possibilities. But like other sports, cycling has evolved to a high level. It’s more difficult to create differences. All the cyclists today are very professional, and all the techniques of recuperation, preparation, materials, and things like wind tunnel, they are already very advanced. We need to concentrate on the smaller details, and so we need the best technologies that exist.”

Click here to read more at VeloNews.

First look at a SRAM electronic groupset prototype

It’s long been rumoured that SRAM’s been working on an electronic shifting system and on Sunday cyclocross fans in Illinois USA appeared to get the first glimpse of the system.

A rider in a SRAM-branded kit turned up to the Illinois cyclocross state championships on a bike mounted with a rough-looking prototype of an electronic shifting system.

Little is known about the technology and SRAM marketing manager Michael Zellman told VeloNews “That’s a developmental product. I have no comment.”

Click here to read more and to see photos of the prototype.

Descending the Trollstigen at 80km/h … backwards

A couple months back we published an article about some of the most amazing cycling roads in Norway, including the famous Trollstigen climb. The tight switchbacks would make that particular descent technical and challenging at the best of times, let alone if it’s wet and you’re riding it backwards.


And yet that’s what stuntman Eskil Ronningsbakken does in the following video. Simply click on the image above to get through to the video.

Click here to

The Rocacorba Recap

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

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Today’s feature image was taken by Piotr Tryblski and shows the famous Trollstigen climb in Norway, as featured in our Roadtripping Norway piece.