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by Shane Stokes
December 10, 2014
In today’s edition of the Rocacorba Daily news digest: Grand Départ of 2016 Tour de France revealed: Mont Saint Michel to host start of race; Tour 2014 stage winner Gallopin, Roelandts and Wellens renew with Lotto-Soudal team; UCI Licence Commission still awaiting information from CONI, but Astana decision to be announced Wednesday; New British One Pro Cycling team lists Tour de France as future aim; O’Reilly says Armstrong deserves lifetime ban but Gran Fondo Hincapie ban was too much; Rio 2016 Olympic road race and time trial courses revealed; Prison sentences possible for organisers of ‘illegal race’ in Singapore; Brisbane cyclists caught in hail storm
One of the most striking locations in the country will host the start of the 2016 Tour de France, with the race set to return to Mont Saint Michel for the second time in four years.
The stunning island, which is capped by a monastery, has long been known for a tidal causeway which makes it inaccessible by car at certain times of the day. This feature plus the visual appeal makes the site one of the most visited in France, with an estimated three million tourists heading there each year. Those statistics were boosted by the 2013 Tour de France, with the stage 11 time trial concluding there and resulting in a Tony Martin victory.
Hosting the Grand Départ is an even bigger boost for this region, and was confirmed at noon on Tuesday by Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme plus Manche General Council President Jean-François Le Grand.
The race will begin from there on July 2 2016 with a 188 kilometre stage to Utah Beach Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, the location of one of the 1944 World War 2 landing beaches. The stage will hug the coastline and could see the peloton broken up by echelons; if it stays together, the flat parcours point to a big bunch sprint.
Day two will cover 182 kilometres from Saint Lô to Cherbourg-Octeville and will include the three kilometre La Glacerie climb in the finale. While the finish location of stage three won’t be revealed until the official Tour route presentation next October, it will begin in Granville.
“The Manche is a very beautiful department with breath taking scenery,” said Prudhomme. “It offers varied terrain that will favour the sprinters at Utah Beach, and allow the punchers their chance to standout in the hills above Cherbourg-Octeville.
“Let us not forget the Mont-Saint-Michel that will majestically enhance the very first pedal strokes of the riders of the peloton, three years after it was the backdrop for the 100th Tour de France.”
Coming off the best season of his career, a year which saw him win a stage and hold yellow in the Tour de France and also clock up a number of important placings in other events, Tony Gallopin has had those performances rewarded with a contract extension with his current team.
The Lotto-Belisol squad, which will become Lotto-Soudal in 2015, has inked extensions with Gallopin, Jurgen Roelandts and Tim Wellens.
“The past season I felt really good with this team and I had a great year, with July as the high when I won a Tour stage and could wear the yellow jersey for one day, said Gallopin, who made his debut with the squad in 2014.
“My performances fit perfectly in the evolution of my career and I hope to continue this way with the team. It’s nice to be in this Belgian team, I get the opportunity to take my chances.”
Wellens also had a good season, describing 2014 as a breakthrough year for himself. The 23 year old won a stage plus the overall in the Eneco Tour, and said that he is determined to give more back to the team after it showed faith in him.
As for Roelandts, he has proven his worth as an important team player and has been with the squad since he made his pro debut in 2008. While he considers the season just finished as one which fell below his expectations, third in the Tour of Qatar was a strong result.
“We are very proud to announce the contract extensions of Jürgen Roelandts, Tony Gallopin and Tim Wellens,” said team manager Marc Sergeant. “Thanks to the effort of the four sponsors who have made a commitment from 2015 until 2020 – Lotto, Soudal, Ridley and Vermarc – we can be clear about the future. That is a luxury, which also brings responsibility. Results will be expected. Extending the contract of these three riders is an important step.”
The UCI has clarified what was a somewhat misleading story in Tuesday’s La Gazzetta dello Sport, staying that its Licence Commission has not yet received the Padova report into doping allegations against Michele Ferrari, including claims that he worked with the Astana team.
Although La Gazzetta quoted UCI President Brian Cookson as saying that documentation had been sent by the Italian Olympic Committee CONI, it appears that this may have been a mistranslation. A spokesperson for the governing body contacted CyclingTips to say that its Licence Commission is yet to acquire the requested information from CONI.
The Licence Commission is currently studying the Astana team’s candidature for a WorldTour place in 2015. The team is under pressure following five positive tests spread across two squads; since August, the WorldTour team’s Maxim and Valentin Iglinskiy tested positive for EPO, while Kazakhstan’s national champion Ilya Davidenok, Artur Fedosseyev and Victor Okishev of the Astana Continental team all tested positive for anabolic androgenic steroids.
In recent days, Italian media reports have stated that a number of Astana riders have been linked to the banned doping doctor Michele Ferrari. They have also claimed that he attended a team training camp in Italy in November of last year.
According to the UCI spokesman, the Licence Commission will communicate its final decision to the UCI on Wednesday. This will indicate whether or not it believes that the team should be given a WorldTour licence for 2015.
It is not clear if the documentation will be received in time for it to be considered. However if the Licence Commission is already leaning towards excluding the team, that documentation may not be necessary.
Click here to read the full story on CyclingTips.
Although it is starting off at UCI Continental level in 2015, the newly-unveiled One Pro Cycling squad has set out a big goal for future years; increasing its budget and clout to the point where it will be able to ride the Tour de France.
The squad has been co-founded by the cricketer Matt Prior, who has long had a keen interest in cycling and was actually criticised by his former England team-mate Kevin Pietersen about that passion.
He will act as the chief executive of the team and has laid out an ambitious path for future years.
“We’re hugely ambitious as a team, to grow, develop and go through the ranks,” he told Press Association Sport.
“The guys involved want to be racing in the big races: the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, World Tour events.
“We know where we’re starting off and there’s a lot of things we have to get right. We will make mistakes, we have to learn from those mistakes, in order to allow us to grow and reach those big dreams.”
Details remain somewhat scarce about the team, with the core sponsors to be unveiled at the official launch in mid-February. However the team will be led by Yanto Barker and also include a number or riders who came through the British Cycling set-up, including Jonny Bellis, Jon Mould and George Atkins.
Bellis has been trying to get back to his previous level after suffering a bad head injury several years ago due to a moped accident.
Prior is recovering from Achilles tendon surgery and plans to return to high level cricket. However he will put some of his energy into the team, and sees running it as something he could go into once he retires.
He’s using cycling as part of his rehabilitation from injury and hopes to ride with the team in its January training camp.
Click here to read the full story at ITV.com.
One of those who suffered most during Lance Armstrong’s iron grip on cycling, Emma O’Reilly, has said that the rider has earned the lifetime ban he was given from competitive cycling, but that she believes the recent blocking of his participation in the Gran Fondo Hincapie was over the top.
The Irishwoman worked as a soigneur with the US Postal Service team but was dismissed by Johan Bruyneel. She went public about some of the drug use on the team and was sued by Armstrong, but the two had a reconciliation last year.
Despite the previous acrimony, he wrote the forward to her book about the team, The Race to Truth.
“I think Lance is paying a big price for being a bully,” she told Cycling Weekly. “I think his back is against the wall at the moment because it’s difficult for him to talk because of the other things going on.”
O’Reilly was referring to the court cases Armstrong is facing in relation to his cheating in the Tour de France, his lying to sponsors and a previous settlement made by the company which was due to pay him a bonus for winning multiple Tours, SCA Insurance.
Armstrong’s ban includes all events sanctioned by signatories to the World Anti-Doping Association code; this ruled him out of the Gran Fondo Hincapie charity ride in October, which he had planned to participate in.
O’Reilly said she’s not sure this was necessary.
“It’s a hard one because he did deserve a proper punishment,” she said. “But say the Gran Fondo event, does that help cycling by not letting a man who can raise a lot of money for a charity? I don’t see how that helps.”
Click here to read the full story at Cycling Weekly.
The start of the next Olympic Games are still over a year and a half from now, but the UCI has announced details of the road race and time trial events to be held in Rio 2016. The former includes several climbs plus a cobblestone section, and will be 256.4 kilometres in length for the men and 130.3 kilometre for the women.
Those races will take place on Saturday August 6 and Sunday August 7 respectively.
Under the confirmed details, the start and finish will be in Flamengo Park, with the Grumari Circuit to be completed four times by the men and once by the women. The race will also pass through Copacabana, Ipanema, Barra and Reserva Beach, take in a flat 20 kilometre section and include laps of the Canoas/Vista Chinesa Circuit. The women will compete one lap of the latter while the men will cover that route three times.
The Grumari Circuit includes two climbs, namely the Grumari ascent (average of 7 percent over 1.2 kilometres and with a maximum gradient of 13 percent) and the Grota Funda climb (average of 4.5 percent over 2.1 kilometres, maximum gradient of six percent). The circuit also includes a cobblestone section of two kilometres.
As for the Canoas/Vista Chinesa circuit, this includes a long 8.9 kilometre climb plus a technical descent of six kilometres.
The time trial course is 29.8 kilometres in length and uses the Grumari Circuit of the road race. The women will cover one lap while the men will compete two. Those races will be held on Wednesday August 10.
“The road race mixes some of Rio de Janeiro’s most iconic backdrops such as Copacabana and Ipanema with some really testing sections such as the Grumari Circuit and the climb up to Canoas/Vista Chinesa,” said UCI President Brian Cookson, “while the time trial course also includes the challenging topography of the area.
Click here to read the full story on the UCI’s website.
Two individuals who helped promote what was the eighth running of the so-called HolyCrit at Singapore’s Tanglin Halt Road have been arrested and could end up serving jail time as a result of the competition.
According to the country’s Traffic Police, the event was an illegal racing activity. Two men aged 28 and 39 have been arrested under Section 116 of the Road Traffic Act, and would be liable to a mandatory jail term of up to six months and a fine of between $1,000 and $2,000 if convicted.
If they later were given a second or subsequent conviction, they could be jailed up to 12 months and fined between $2,000 and $3,000. The vehicles used in the illegal race would also be forfeited.
The HolyCrit was first held last year and is held on average once a month.
“Traffic Police takes a serious view against illegal racing on public roads and will not hesitate to enforce against irresponsible racers who partake in such illegal activities and jeopardise other road users with their stunts,” said the traffic police commander involved.
A total of 32 participants took part in the race and almost 100 spectators attended. The traffic police are trying to establish the identity of the cyclists in the event.
Click here to read the full story at The Straits Times.
Those of you in the area might remember a massive storm that came through Brisbane a couple weeks ago. One cyclist has caught his commute home on video:
And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed at CyclingTips: