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by Shane Stokes
November 26, 2014
In this morning’s edition of the Rocacorba Daily news digest: Velon interview part I: how CEO Bartlett believes group can transform cycling; Six teams opt to wait and see how Velon progresses ; Nibali on Astana’s licence review: “it’s easy to shoot at big teams; Trofeo Laigueglia winner Serpa extends with Lampre-Merida; Sicily training camp for Tinkoff Saxo as another new partner named; Changing the Business Model: A New Approach to Anti-Doping; CharterMason Giant team upgrades to UCI Continental licence, names 2015 roster; Impressive lineup of world champions confirmed for Melbourne’s Hisense Arena track meet
Launched this week in what the group hopes will represent a major step forward for the growth and stability of the sport, first details of the Velon project were finally unveiled.
Comprising eleven of cycling’s top WorldTour teams and targeting goals of making the sport more dramatic, introducing new technology and building a more sustainable and credible future, Velon aims to transform the landscape of the sport.
It hands member teams new negotiation power in discussions with the UCI and with race organisers such as ASO, thus strengthening the hand of one of the most important stakeholder groups in cycling.
However while the launch document introduced Velon to those who follow the sport, many important details were not explained due to its brevity. CyclingTips spoke in depth to the group’s CEO Graham Bartlett, who previously worked with UEFA and Nike and was commercial director for Liverpool Football Club, getting greater detail on a variety of topics.
In part I of this interview, Bartlett fields questions on the group’s goals and finances, speaks about the teams who have not yet signed up and discusses some of the technology already employed such as on-bike cameras and whether that footage could become a revenue stream.
He also talks about Velon’s dealings with the AIGCP, the UCI plus Tour de France organiser ASO, who many anticipate could be the group’s biggest challenge.
CyclingTips: First off, can you explain what Velon means for the teams involved?
Graham Bartlett: We are very much about facing the same direction now. This is a joint business venture of eleven of the teams. It has got three founding principles, really – make the sport more exciting, bring new technology too it and that this all has to be underpinned by sustainable and credible teams.
This has to be a long term business shift, because you are not going to do anything overnight that is going to switch on massive big revenue streams.
Click here to read the two-part interview on CyclingTips.
Meanwhile six teams have not signed up to Velon at this point in time, with the French trio of Ag2r-La Mondiale, FDJ, and Europcar holding off, along with Movistar (Spain), Katusha (Russia) and Astana (Kazakhstan).
FDJ’s Elisa Madiot told VeloNews that the squad saw little point in rushing into anything. “We are not rejecting the project, we just want to wait to see more details,” she stated. “[Team manager] Marc [Madiot] said the project was not very precise. We saw the same press releases that everyone else did, and Marc wants to see more information. We are not against it.”
Europcar manager Jean-Rene Bernaudeau was not so neutral, telling l’Equipe that he didn’t want to sign up. “There is always the will to create a NBA-style professional league, and I’m against it,” he said.
As for Movistar, team officals said that there were complications with its current sponsor, the Spanish telecommunications giant Telefónica.
“Movistar has met and participated in all the groups, discussions, and meetings with the objective of bettering cycling and work for the future,” it said in a statement. “However, Movistar is sponsored by a communications company that clearly [relies] on audiovisual content and TV rights, so our possible participation in Velon must be agreed upon by our title sponsor, and this requires time and a thorough analysis of the situation.”
Click here to read the full story on VeloNews.
Responding to the positive cases affecting his team as well as the calls for it to be thrown out of the UCI WorldTour, Vincenzo Nibali appears to be suggesting the latter is in part due to what he sees as inevitable suspicion of successes.
The 2014 Tour de France winner was speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport after winning the Giglio d’Oro award for best Italian rider.
“I only know what has been written in newspapers and websites, I know no more,” he said. “It’s easy to shoot at big teams, that is what has happened to Sky. But I do not think there will be big problems for the license. Meanwhile, my plans do not change.”
The UCI’s Licence Commission was requested by the governing body to investigate the Astana team after three riders connected to it tested positive.
They are the brothers Maxim and Valentin Iglinskiy, both of whom returned positive A samples for EPO, and the Kazakhstan national champion Ilya Davidenok. He became a stagiaire with the team in August, moving up from the Astana Continental team.
Last week a fourth rider, Astana Continental team competitor Victor Okishev, also tested positive.
The team faced the UCI Licence Commission on November 6th. That commission is now assessing documentation in relation to that.
CyclingTips understands that recommendations will be given from that commission to the UCI within the week or so, after which the decision will be revealed when the UCI publishes the 2015 list of UCI WorldTour teams.
If Nibali’s team is demoted to Pro Continental level, it would need to acquire wildcards for the WorldTour races including the Tour de France.
Click here to read the full story on La Gazzetta dello Sport.
After two years with the Lampre-Merida team, the Colombia climber Josè Serpa Perez has been given a one year extension to his current deal. The double Tour de Langkawi champion clocked up victory in the Trofeo Laigueglia this season and
He has taken 35 wins in all during his nine years as a pro.
Team manager Brent Copeland said that the signing was an important one for the team. “The confirmation of Serpa in the roster for 2015 will contribute to keep a very high level of quality in our climbers group,” he said.
“Josè is a key rider for his experience, his cycling skills and his reliability: he has been always more than competitive in all the top races he took part in.”
Now 35 years of age, Serpa’s Laigueglia result shows he is still a strong rider. He displayed that point in the Tour de France when he placed fourth on stage 16 to Bagneres de Luchon, rolling in behind Mick Rogers (Tinkoff Saxo), Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) and Vasil Kiryienka (Sky).
Copeland said that he would have set targets for next season, both in terms of results and also other performances.
“His role of support to the captains will be very precious, so as it will be his skills in trying to achieve personal goals, as it happened in Trofeo Laigueglia 2014,” he said.
His personality is also a factor in being retained. “Josè is a very good guy and he’s appreciated by all the team members.”
The Tinkoff Saxo team of Alberto Contador and Peter Sagan has confirmed plans to carry out a pre-season training camp in Sicily in January, using Mount Etna and its environs to build form in advance of each riders’ first races.
The Russian squad announced Tuesday that it had inked a deal with the JSH Hotels and Resorts group for 2015 and would stay at the chain’s hotels at times during the season.
“In order to become the world’s top cycling team we need our riders, as well as our entire staff, to be adequately prepared, in order to perform at our top in the upcoming very difficult and demanding 2015 season,” said the team’s CEO Stefano Feltrin, confirming the agreement.
“We look forward to starting the year at Il Picciolo Etna Golf Resort & Spa. We just came back from an expedition to a volcanic mountain, Mt. Kilimanjaro, so I think we will feel at home near Mt. Etna.”
The team has announced a large number of partners in recent months. Those confirmed for the January training camp are Contador, Sagan, Ivan Basso, Rafal Majka and the other team riders. They will stay there for almost two weeks.
It is not clear if some riders will leave prior to the end of the camp to compete in the first races, including the Santos Tour Down Under. That starts on January 17th.
The team will use another of the company’s hotels in the build-up to the Giro d’Italia, namely the Galzignano Terme SPA & Golf Resort.
Other camps are also being considered during the year.
Known for their intelligent analysis of some of the issues relating to pro cycling, The Outer Line duo of Joe Harris and Steve Maxwell have come up with another thought-provoking proposal to help the sport’s future.
This time the duo argue that cycling needs an ISO-type certification, with such a mark of quality putting an onus on teams to commit to more stringent anti-doping testing and punishments. In return for that, riders and teams would be certified as clean, thus adding to their credibility.
Harris and Maxwell argue that this would have a hugely beneficial effect in the long term, helping sponsors, fans and others to have faith in the sport.
“Cycling needs to clean up its act now, and a timely move to this type of certification and punitive model might reinforce the wave of change which is rippling through the peloton, particularly among the younger riders in the sport,” they state.
“If carefully designed and implemented, certification could take root, improve competitive conditions, and gradually become the norm throughout the sport. This is exactly what has historically happened in many other professions. Well-intentioned riders would finally have the charter and the tools to protect themselves; just as important, they would have both the incentive and the supporting team structure to gradually weed out others who didn’t want to play by the rules.”
“By certifying themselves to be clean, riders would in turn validate the races in which they participated; races would have true winners, and results would no longer have to be re-written by doping scandals after the fact. All of this could create a sharply upward spiral in the sport – building a greater sense of legitimacy, growing the fan base, encouraging new investment, and promoting economic growth.”
Click here to read the full article on The Outer Line.
Confirming that it will step up to UCI Continental level for 2015, the Charter Mason Giant/Powered by Brennan IT team has announced its roster for next season.
Image by JXP Photography
The team will include returning riders Sam Crome, Daniel Fitter, Raph Freienstein, Keagan Girdlestone, Shannon Johnson, Nick Katsonis, Jake Magee, Conor Murtagh and Josh Taylor.
Those nine will be joined by seven others, namely Scott Bowden, Jayden Copp, David Edwards, Ben Hill, Ryan MacAnally. Tom Robinson and Paul Van der Ploeg.
“It’s great to have continuity and cohesion in the team and the riders who are in their second and third years with the team help that,” said directeur sportif Damo Harris. “They have been there through the early days when the team was outside the top 20 to now where an overall win in the NRS is not only possible; it’s our stated goal.”
Team Owner Leigh Parsons said that Harris had worked hard to both recruit talented riders and also to ensure that they will fit well into the structure. “I’m really pleased with the roster for next year and excited to see what they achieve… After a great 2014, I expect big things in 2015.”
Stepping up to a Continental licence means that the team can take part in a number of bigger events and could also race internationally.
“For me, the step to “Conti” status was natural,” said Parsons. “We see this move as part of us moving forward to not only compete at the highest level at the NRS but also take on high ranking Conti, Pro Conti and even World Tour teams. We’ve told the riders we will back them to do their best and this license is the best way to show that faith…”
New partners and sponsors are set to be announced soon, while the 2015 kit will also be unveiled.
Twenty world champions have been promised to fans interested in attending the pre-Christmas track event planned for Melbourne’s Hisense Arena this December 20.
The programme will include the 117th edition of the Austral Wheelrace plus the Australian Madison Championships, as well as a host of UCI Category 1 Level sprint events.
The Austral Wheelrace is billed as the oldest track cycling event in the world, being first held at the MCG in 1887. It comprises a handicap race contested over 2000 metres, or eight laps of the 250 metre velodrome.
Riders are given handicap start positions between ‘scratch’ (0 metres mark) and up to the 240 metres point. The programme will also include a women’s Austral. In all 120 starters are expected, with entries closing December 14.
As for the National Madison Championships, the field will include two-time world champions Cameron Meyer and Leigh Howard, South Australians Glenn O’Shea and Jack Bobridge, Alex Edmondson and Miles Scotson, plus Western Australia’s Sam Welsford and Scott Sunderland.
As for the women’s field, defending champions Annette Edmondson and Jessica Mundy are confirmed, as are the strong Tasmanian pairings of Macey Stewart and Lauren Perry plus Amy Cure and Georgia Baker. New South Wales’ Ashlee Ankudinoff and Imogen Jelbart will also ride.
Australia’s top sprinters will compete in the UCI Category 1 Level sprint and keirin events, as will competitors from New Zealand, Malaysia, Canada, Finland, Ireland, Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic.
Click here to read the full story on Cycling Australia’s website and you can buy tickets here.
Last week Cadel Evans was the guest of honour at the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards in Melbourne which raised $27,000 for a charity auction benefiting Street Swags.
Evans also gave some insights into his success and how he has stayed motivated throughout his career:
1. Things won’t go your way all the time
“It’s learning that life is an inevitable series of setbacks,” he said.
“The key is getting over those and getting going again.”
2. Setbacks are a lesson
“When I look back at my career as I am getting close to the end of it now, it’s those lessons, those setbacks, what you learn in those lessons that actually gives you what makes the difference to succeed,” he said.
“And not just succeed to overcome them but to go on to much bigger and better things.”
“In the end, our best lessons were probably our worst experiences.”
3. Develop a method for overcoming obstacles
“Of course in our sport it’s obvious you get knocked off your bike by someone or something or illness and so on but it is [about] coming back through those, working through things again,” he said.
“Really you have to work so much better, you have to reassess everything you do, you do a big review of everything you’re doing and you learn a lot.”
“That experience is what makes you bigger and stronger.”
Read the full article on Smart Company
And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed at CyclingTips: