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by Matt de Neef
November 20, 2014
In this morning’s edition of the Rocacorba Daily news digest: Specialized lululemon becomes Velocio-SRAM; Fourth rider linked to Astana team tests positive – Okishev fails A test for steroids; Tony Martin to attempt the hour record in 2015; Cookson open to shortening the Grand Tours; Bono surgeon reveals extensive injuries arising from bike smash; Smith – I want MTN Qhubeka to be completely open with data; Michael Drapac keen for WorldTour berth by 2017; Nairo Quintana laments “racing not to lose” attitude; Interview with a champion – Will Walker; Cat on the track at the Ghent Six-Day; The Power of Bicycles.
by Shane Stokes
Kristy Scrymgeour has revealed that her clothing company Velocio plus cycling component maker SRAM will be the new title backers of the team currently known as Specialized lululemon.
Scrymgeour’s teams have long been one of the most distinctive in the peloton. This is an early image of the kit design Velocio-SRAM will use in 2015.
Speaking in depth to CyclingTips, Scrymgeour said that SRAM had made a multi-year commitment to the team, while Velocio will step into the first title backer role at this point in time.
Scrymgeour is currently in talks with companies from outside cycling in relation to that position, but makes clear that the team will remain ambitious and field a strong roster in the meantime.
The team has been one of the most successful in the women’s peloton in the past three years, winning the worlds TTT but also a large number of other races. Scrymgeour has high ambitions for her line-up of riders, saying that the team will continue to race aggressively and ambitiously.
“The goals are very simple,” she said. “We are driven to win races, to help develop women’s professional cycling and to represent our sponsors on cycling’s biggest stage.”
Click here to read the full article at CyclingTips.
Already facing the scrutiny of the UCI Licence Commission, which will decide whether or not the team should be given a WorldTour licence for 2015, the doping cloud the Astana team is under has darkened with the news that a fourth rider with links to the team has tested positive.
The UCI announced Wednesday that the Kazakhstani rider Victor Okishev has tested positive for anabolic androgenic steroids. Okishev is a member of Astana’s Continental team, a feeder squad for the WorldTour outfit, and was tested at the Asian Cycling Championships on May 29 of this year.
He became a stagiaire with the Continental team in August 2013 and graduated to a full contract with the team prior to the start of the 2014 season. His team has subsequently issued a statement, including this reaction to the news.
“All Continental Team Astana riders and staff are shocked and disappointed by the news that comes from a UCI Press Release this Wednesday, effectively six months after the sample was taken,” it said.
“Continental Team Astana will scrupulously follow all UCI rules and regulations, and continues to follow the additional rules as per its voluntary membership in the MPCC. Currently the team is organizing immediate inquiries into the Okishev case in order to establish an overview of the facts and explanations.”
Click here to read more at CyclingTips.
Three-time world ITT champion Tony Martin has told German website Radsport-News that he intends to tackle the hour record in 2015, so long as preparations for the attempt don’t affect his ambitions on the road.
“I will discuss it with my team in December so that we can implement it without my goals on the road being affected,” he said. “That is the essential factor.
“I need to find time to prepare without affecting my road shape. Since I have capable people around me, and a team that supports me, I think that we will find a date in the coming year.”
Martin acknowledges that he could have a significant challenge on his hands if Bradley Wiggins follows through with plans to attempt the hour record in 2015 as well.
“Above all, his advantage from the outset is already infinitely large, in terms of experience. He comes from the track,” Martin said. “I am sure that I will need more time to adapt than he will. Maybe two, three or four experiments will be needed to find the punch that he will have. But I want to work on it, and after the first training on the track I will be able to tell if it is realistic or not.”
Click here to read more at Radsport-News.
UCI president Brian Cookson has told the cycling media that he hasn’t ruled out shortening the sport’s three Grand Tours in an attempt to streamline the WorldTour calendar.
“Nothing is untouchable,” Spanish newspaper AS reported Cookson as saying at the UCI WorldTour Awards in Spain earlier this week. “We want to plan for a better sport, in that the best riders compete in the best races. With the current structure of three Grand Tours of three weeks it is impossible.
“We have too many races and days of competition in a lengthy calendar, which requires a significant financial strain. The sport of cycling isn’t simple. We are looking for adequate solutions.”
Cookson’s statement came in response to concerns that the Vuelta a España could be cut to two weeks as the UCI moves towards a restructured and slimmed-down WorldTour in 2017.
Click here to read more at AS.
U2 frontman Bono is facing a lengthy period of recovery after it was disclosed just how badly the Irishman was injured in a cycling crash Sunday in New York.
The singer was cycling in Central Park when he hit the deck. According to a report in Rolling Stone on Wednesday, he attempted to avoid another rider and was involved in what his doctors have called a ‘high energy bicycle accident.’
After a series of X-rays and CAT scans Bono underwent five hours of surgery for injuries that were much more serious than first thought:
According to Bono’s surgeon, the Irishman will require “intensive and progressive therapy.” However he states that a full recovery is expected.
Click here to read more at Rolling Stone.
MTN Qhubeka’s general manager Brian Smith has said that he is open to sharing as much information as possible with fans and others, saying that he wants the team to be open and transparent.
“This team is about bringing the fun back into cycling. You know what it is like – you go and try to get access to teams and buses, and you can’t really get access,” he told CyclingTips. “We want to try to create a team that is a friendly one. Think back to the old days when we were getting changed in team cars; you could just rock up and see the riders. That is what people come to races for, not just to see them zoom past.
“We are thinking of different ways to engage. We are thinking of a new media fan-based idea, to have open data. The UCI are starting to let in cameras. We are very open to all the data, anything to encourage the fans to engage more with cycling.
“Too many teams are like, ‘we don’t want to give that information, that is classified.’ And any time there is an accident or someone crashes and they have an injury, they say ‘he is fine, he is feeling good.’ That is all bullshit. I want cycling to open up, tell the truth. Why play games?”
Owner of Drapac Professional Cycling, Michael Drapac, has told the Australian Financial Review (AFR) that he will push for his team to be included in the WorldTour by the end of 2017.
Drapac, which made the step up to ProContinental level this year, reportedly costs roughly $2 million a year to run; a step up to the WorldTour would increase that cost by as much as $10 million per annum. Michael Drapac says another sponsor would be necessary to make that happen.
“We want to find a partner that will be a fit with us, that will want to take us on that journey for the next 10 years,” Drapac says.
Drapac Professional Cycling has had a year of mixed fortunes in 2014, but Michael Drapac told the AFR that the team will be “50 per cent” better next year.
Click here to read more at the Australian Financial Review.
In an interview with Spanish newspaper El Pais, Giro d’Italia winner Nairo Quintana has said that modern riders are too afraid to lose races and that long-range attacks in the mountains are consequently a thing of the past. It’s something that Quintana misses about the sport.
“These days no one has the ability to attack from afar,” Quintana told El Pais. “Before, strategies were made and sometimes they worked, sometimes not. But now everyone is playing not to lose and I don’t like it.
“I am among those who [can] attack from far and sometimes I do well, but usually not.”
He continued: “We [climbers] need to seek solitude and the attack is the moment that defines us. But now everyone is very measured…I cannot get carried away by emotion.”
Click here to read more at El Pais.
In the lead-up to next year’s Australian Road Nationals in January, Cycling Australia (spearheaded by Matt Keenan) is putting together a series of video interviews with past Australian national champions.
The first video in the series is an interview with Will Walker who, as an U23, won the elite men’s road race, prompting a change in the structure of the nationals road races.
Walker’s relationship with the nationals isn’t all good though — he withdrew from this year’s nationals road race with a bout of tachycardia that very nearly claimed his life.
This could have ended badly.
A touching story.
And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed at CyclingTips: