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by Shane Stokes
January 7, 2015
In today’s edition of the Rocacorba news digest: Ewan and Weening to lead Orica GreenEdge team hopes in Le Tour de Langkawi; Kittel calls for more doping controls before key events, backs prison terms; Petacchi prolongs career with former Neri Sottoli squad, team now named Southeast Pro Cycling; Kreuziger case: UCI contradicts Tinkoff Saxo team assertion that it hasn’t filed documentation; Dekker to bid for world hour record at altitude in Mexico at end of February; Giant-Alpecin and Cannondale-Garmin team launches to be screened online Wednesday; Finnish national road race champion Veikkanen and Roy amongst FDJ roster for Santos Tour Down Under; The GCN Show: The Road Season Kicks Off + The Cyclocross Season Heats Up; The Week in Bike #50 – Eyeballs
Coming off a superb showing in the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic, where he clocked up three individual wins plus the overall in what was his first race of 2015, Caleb Ewan has hit the ground running in what is his first pro season with the Orica GreenEdge team.
The 20 year old sprinter has now been named as one of the top riders for his team in Le Tour de Langkawi, which runs from March 8 to 15 and will offer him numerous chances for more sprint success.
“Le Tour de Langkawi will be my first race of the year out of Australia,” he confirmed Tuesday. “The team has chosen for me a racing calendar that allows me to target some victories.
“Winning is my reason to cycle. I’m excited to ride Le Tour de Langkawi as I know I’ll have some opportunities to try and win a stage or more. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Malaysia and I’ve seen many pictures of sprints from this race. They look great.”
Ewan will compete in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean road race plus the Herald Sun Tour as part of his buildup.
He seek to emulate past Australian stage winners such as David McKenzie, Graeme Brown, Stuart O’Grady and Michael Matthews.
He will be backed by lead out men such as Damien Howson, Sam Bewley, Adam Blythe and Leigh Howard, while Pieter Weening will represent the team’s GC hopes after netting second overall in 2013.
“Weening is a world class rider, also a former pink jersey at the Giro,” said 2015 race CEO Datuk Abdul Malik Mydin. “His desire to come back is an honour for us Malaysians. We’re looking forward to seeing these great cyclists in action here.”
The race will once again be ranked 2.HC on the international calendar and a host of strong teams are expected to be announced in the run-up to the event.
Eight time Tour de France stage winner Marcel Kittel has called for an increase in anti-doping testing in cycling, saying that while the sport is already the most scrutinised, that he would endorse more examinations in order to build trust and to weed out cheats.
The Giant-Alpecin rider was commenting in the wake of the Astana situation, which saw the WorldTour team and its feeder squad have a combined total of five positive tests since September.
He said that this has undoubtedly been damaging for the image of the sport and that anything which further increases the pressure on teams and riders using banned substances is a good thing.
“It is a situation that is absolutely not satisfying for anyone who reads about it, who knows about it,” he told CyclingTips. “I think the problem is that people now think that there is doping use again relating to cycling, especially in a team which has the Tour de France winner.
“Then there is the reaction of the UCI which, to the outside world, outside of cycling, might seem very unclear why they still give them the licence despite them having doping cases. I think we have to try to end this case now in a very sensible way.
“For me the only solution for it is to first of all to have more doping controls again, to be really sure that everyone is tested enough.”
Kittel said it was important to recognise that cycling has already made a big effort in this regard. Other sports have far fewer tests, but he sees the value in going further in order to safeguard the image of the sport and the reputations of clean riders.
“Cycling is already by far the most tested sport of all and we´ll also find the cheats with enough controls. But in my opinion it should be no problem to increase the amount of tests even more. Especially when we come closer to the highlights of each season.”
Click here to read the full feature on CyclingTips.
Winner of almost 50 Grand Tour stages during his career, Alessandro Petacchi is attempting to shrug off his 41 years with yet another season in the professional peloton.
The Italian rider was left searching for a team when his two season contract with Omega Pharma-QuickStep was not extended. He has now inked a deal with the former Neri Sottoli squad, which has secured new backing for 2015 and will be funded mainly by the Chinese steel company Southeast Space Frame.
The news of the new sponsor comes days after reports that Neri Sottoli has stepped back from title backing in 2015, and would instead become a smaller supporter of the team.
That company will now invest in the Franco Ballerini junior team.
According to team manager Angelo Citracca, the new agreement with Southeast Space Frame will be what he terms ‘an unprecedented partnership.’
“Our professional team is the first to bring a so important sponsor in the European cycling,” he stated, announcing the Southeast Pro Cycling squad. “This is an incredible opportunity for growth and development. A big “revolution” was made in the team and we will soon announce other great news, but now it’s up to the riders do the job. I wish them a wonderful competitive season.”
The team has been rocked by a number of doping scandals in recent years. Danilo di Luca and Mauro Santambrogio tested positive in 2013, while in 2014 Matteo Rabottini tested positive after an out of competition doping control on August 8.
These have led to the team being suspended by the MPCC anti-doping movement and have also put some pressure on Giro d’Italia organisers RCS Sport not to permit the team to ride this year’s race.
Click here to read more at CyclingTips.
The UCI has answered claims by Tinkoff Saxo team manager Stefano Feltrin that it and WADA are responsible for the delays in Roman Kreuziger’s biological passport case, saying that suggestions it has not filed documentation are untrue.
Earlier this week Feltrin told Cyclingnews that Kreuziger was still waiting for a hearing date and that the UCI was to blame.
“Basically we don’t know about the date for the hearing and that’s the real truth when it comes to because we’re left with no information,” he said, confirming that the team might enter the rider in the Tour of Oman.
“He’s eligible to race and he’s demanded to race because he wants to return and he wants to put pressure on the UCI. For us he can race and we have to contractually race him but we want him to race as well.
“It’s unfortunate that the UCI are taking so long to file an appeal. They’re using all their remedies but it’s not in the best interest of the sport. At this point I have no idea when it could take place. The UCI need to file all their documents and they’re still doing this. Then CAS will set a date for the hearing.”
However, according to the UCI, this is not an accurate representation of the situation and blaming it for the delays is unfair.
“We don’t have any date,” a UCI spokesman told CyclingTips on Tuesday. “What I can tell you is that the UCI and WADA have sent our documentation to CAS. This was already done on December 8. We do not have any news or developments.
“From our end, we have done what we have to do.”
Click here to read more on CyclingTips.
Battling for both a place in history and also for a future in the sport, Thomas Dekker will seek to resurrect his career when he attempts the world hour record at the end of February.
The Dutchman’s intention to chase the hallowed mark was previously made public but on Tuesday further details finally emerged in relation to the bid. Dekker will become the first of the current batch of riders to make use of high altitude conditions during his attempt, having decided to throw down the gauntlet on the Aguascalientes velodrome in Mexico.
This is 2000 metres above sea level and could result in faster times, providing he gives himself sufficient time to acclimatise.
Both Eddy Merckx and Francesco Moser set their hour records in on the Agustín Melgar track in Mexico.
The latest details were released Tuesday by RTV NH, although a precise date has not yet been revealed.
Dekker said that he was confident of putting in a successful bid. “In the meantime there are still a few others to make an effort, but I can get it,” he predicted.
Interest in the record was renewed after the election of the UCI president Brian Cookson. He and others in the new-look UCI decided to relax the previous rigorous rules, thus allowing riders to use newer and faster machines.
This led to the first attempt in many years, with Jens Voigt covering 51.115 kilometres on September 19 in Grenchen, Switzerland. Next up was the Austrian rider Matthias Brandle, who improved the mark to 51.850 on October 30 in the UCI’s World Cycling Centre in Aigle.
Since then Jack Bobridge, Rohan Dennis and Alex Dowsett have announced that they will aim for the record. Bobridge’s bid will take place in Melbourne’s DISC velodrome on January 31, while Dennis will make his attempt in Grenchen, Switzerland on February 8.
Dowsett’s attempt in London will come 19 days after the latter bid, with Dekker’s attempt likely to occur around the same time.
Cycling fans who will miss out on the launches of the Giant-Alpecin and Cannondale-Garmin teams on Wednesday due to their geographical location have been handed another opportunity to watch the events unfold, with both teams confirming this week that there will be live coverage online.
The German-registered squad of Marcel Kittel, John Degenkolb and others will be launched at 11 am European time in Berlin on Wednesday. The function can be watched at www.teamgiantalpecin.com and is expected to last up to an hour.
The riders will give quotes about the new season and will also face a questions and answer session.
Meanwhil the Cannondale-Garmin team riders and ambitions will be unveiled later in the day, with its coverage from the IAC building in New York City beginning at 8.35 EST.
Riders due to be at the launch are Andrew Talansky, Ben King, Dan Martin, Davide Formolo, Joe Dombrowski and Ted King, as well as the team CEO Jonathan Vaughters.
“The live online coverage will feature attendee arrivals, introductions, interviews with members of the 2015 Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling team,” said the squad, “and the much-anticipated unveiling of the team’s official 2015 kit.”
The launch can be watched at cannondale.com/greenargyle.
The rider who won the 2014 Finnish national road race title, Jussi Veikkanen, and French attacker Jeremy Roy are amongst seven rider who have been confirmed for the FDJ team in this month’s Santos Tour Down Under, which begins with the People’s Choice Classic on January 18.
“FDJ.fr always brings a competitive team to the Santos Tour Down Under and this year is no different,” said race director Mike Turtur, announcing the lineup on Tuesday. “Having finished tenth at the 2013 Santos Tour Down Under Veikkanen may well be a strong contender for the Santos Ochre Jersey in 2015, making him one to watch.
“Joining Veikkanen is French rider, Jeremy Roy who was awarded the Most Aggressive Rider jersey on Stage 13 of the 2011 Tour de France.”
Also on the team will be the French quintet of Arnold Jeannesson, Olivier Le Gac, Lorrenzo Manzin, Cédric Pineau and Sébastien Chavanel.
It will be the team’s tenth participation in the race. It won the team classification twice in the past, taking it for the first time in 2008 and then defending that award the following year.
As a WorldTour event the race will attract each of the sports’ top 17 teams.
The first squads, namely Lotto-Soudal, Etixx-Quick-Step and Katusha, will arrive in Adelaide on Thursday.
The first GCN Show of 2015 is now live. In the show, Matt, Dan and Simon discuss cyclocross, distance records and the men’s and women’s Bay Crits.
The never-ending hunt for eyeballs creates some interesting contradictions. Generally, things seem to work out best when you give the people what they want.
We hope you enjoy Cosmo Catalano’s latest episode of The Week in Bike.
And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed at CyclingTips: