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by Matt de Neef
November 16, 2015
Photography by Kristof Ramon & Cor Vos
In this morning’s edition of the CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Rohan Dennis crowned Australian cyclist of the year; Calvin Watson signs for An Post Chain Reaction; Michael Rogers to retire after 2016 season; Henderson – I’m still one of the best in the world at my job; Betancur – Now we’ll see who was right – me or AG2R; Cookson – Zero-tolerance is impossible; First glimpses of the 2016 Vuelta route; Denmark bidding for 2018 Tour de France; Female cyclists less likely to be injured than men — study; Sagan and Brumotti gadding about; Adam Hansen accepting People’s Choice Award from Everest Base Camp.
Rohan Dennis (BMC) has capped an impressive 2015 season by receiving the Sir Hubert ‘Oppy’ Opperman Medal & Trophy at the Cycling Australia Awards on Friday night. Dennis took out Australian cycling’s highest individual award ahead of dual track world champion Annette Edmondson and paralympic track and road world champion Alistair Donohoe.
Rohan Dennis with Cycling Australia president Malcolm Speed (left) and CA Hall of Fame inductee Gerry Ryan (right).
“There are some exceptional riders who have won the Oppy so to be in that sort of company is pretty special,” said Dennis. “I thought I might be able to win it later in my career after I’d won a monument or a grand tour. I never thought I would get it this early in my career.”
In 2015 Rohan Dennis won the Tour Down Under, set a new UCI Hour Record (which has since been broken), won a stage and wore the yellow jersey at the Tour de France, and won the USA Pro Challenge. Dennis already has his sights set on 2016.
“I want to start well with time trial at nationals,” Dennis added. “After that I’m looking at having a go at the Tour of California and playing role for the team at the Tour de France. But the main goal is the Rio Olympics.”
Dennis also signalled his intention to win the Tour de France at some point during his career.
Click here to see a full list of award winners at the Cycling Autralia website.
After two years with Trek Factory Racing in the WorldTour, Australia’s Calvin Watson has signed with Irish Continental squad An Post Chain Reaction for the 2016 season.
Also joining the team are Cannondale-Garmin stagiaire Jasper Bovenhuis and Belgian rider Emiel Wastyn. The team has also confirmed a further two years of sponsorship from online bike store Chain Reaction.
“It’s great that we’re renewing our partnership with both Chain Reaction Cycles and Vitus Bikes – it’s been a fantastic journey so far and this continuation is good for the team,” said general manager Sean Kelly.
Among the other signings for 2016 are Watson’s fellow Australian Oliver Kent-Spark, winner of the 2014 Melbourne to Warrnambool.
Click here to read more at Cyclingnews.
Veteran Australian Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo) has confirmed that he will retire from the sport at the end of the 2016 season.
Rogers told the Sydney Morning Herald that he is keen to race in another Olympics before hanging up his wheels.
“I think it’s time,” Rogers said. “I’m very proud of what I’ve done, but that’s enough, that’s enough. It’s physically been very demanding and my girls are growing up quickly so it’s time also to be a father and think about something else.”
In the same interview, the three-time world time trial champion expressed concern about the possibility of cycling events becoming the target of terrorist attacks, in light of recent events in Paris.
“It’s been on the back of my mind, events such as the Tour, a big international event, where the whole world is watching,” Rogers told the SMH. “A lot of riders do think about it, because we pass a lot of people by the side of the road, and it’s quite easy for a potential attack.”
Click here and here to read more at the Sydney Morning Herald.
Despite approaching 40 years old, Greg Henderson (Lotto Soudal) has shown no signs of slowing down and is motivated for another big season in 2016.
“You know people were saying ‘you’re getting old now so maybe you can’t be signed for two years’ and I understand that. That’s how it was in the old days but that’s not what you get from me. I enjoy the training and I enjoy the racing. I can still do both really well,” Henderson told Cyclingnews.
“Essentially it was a milestone of mine to be racing my bike at 40 years of age. I know that there’s not many people who can do that. I proved this year that I’m still one of the best in the world at my job, I’ve not slowed down and my desire to race has not dropped. I’m super motivated and as far as I’m concerned you can race your bike forever as long as your mental capacity is right there. I love racing my bike and I’m lucky to be able to do it as a job.”
“Stopping never crossed my mind. Never. I never thought about quitting but I needed a rest and then I could set myself a goal to come back to.
“It’s tough to say as to when I’ll stop. I think it will be the final year racing WorldTour in 2016. I’ll still be involved in cycling, developing and coaching but maybe in the future it will be to a higher degree. For now, I just can’t wait for next year.”
After almost three years of mixed fortunes with Ag2r-La Mondiale, Colombian rider Carlos Betancur is hoping for a fresh start when his contract with Movistar gets underway in 2016.
“I think … Movistar will offer me more, I can learn a lot more and will make me feel happier. In AG2R there were a lot of things that didn’t allow everything to flow smoothly. It’s like when you don’t get on well with your wife. You have to break up.”
Betancur’s personal goal “is to return to winning races. I’ve won them before, and I didn’t just do that by improvisation. I’ve beaten some serious names and I think I can do it well.”
“It’s true that my desire to win had faded a bit, but whether I like it or not, I’m sure with this team, that ambition will return, because I’ve found myself in a team in which I feel really happy.”
For staunch anti-doping campaigners, it’s a call that makes sense: ban anyone who has a history of doping from any future involvement with the sport. But according to UCI president Brian Cookson, such an approach is simply untenable.
“I think if we’re 100 percent honest about it, I don’t think we could run men’s pro road racing without some people who at some stage in their career had some contact with doping,” Cookson told VeloNews. “To pretend that we can is a delusion, really.”
“Let’s take Bjarne Riis. Anti-Doping Denmark performed a long-term investigation into him and have not been able to take any action against him,” Cookson said. “All his admitted offenses are outside the statute of limitations. It’s very difficult to penalize or sanction somebody for something that is outside of that period because then inevitably that person challenges it. We have to take action that is legally defensible.”
“There are a lot of people who made bad decisions and bad judgments, and I don’t defend them, but I think you have to allow them the possibility of redemption, as well,” Cookson said. “I almost hate hearing myself say those words, because I would love to say, ‘You know what? If you’re a doper, you’re out,’ but actually implementing that is very, very difficult.
“To be realistic about it, and I think we haven’t got the right answer yet, we have to find ways of making assessments about people’s genuine contrition and their … Whether they are deserving of redemption or not.”
Click here to read more at VeloNews.
The Spanish press is reporting that stage 3 of the 2016 Vuelta a Espana will conclude with the short but brutally tough Mirador de Ézaro climb — a climb that has a maximum gradient of nearly 30%.
The 1.9km-long climb has an average gradient of 14% and last featured in the Vuelta in 2012. On that day Joaquim Rodriguez won the stage ahead of Alberto Contador and Alejandro Valverde.
The 2016 Vuelta will start with five stages in the Galicia region of north-west Spain.
Click here to read more at Biciciclismo and here to see the Strava segment for the climb.
It’s nearly three years away but already bids are starting to be organised for the 2018 Tour de France Grand Depart. Denmark is reportedly bidding to host the start of that particular race, according to Danish broadcaster TV2.
Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme is reportedly set to meet with Danish prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen later this month to discuss the bid. According to reports, the organisers are offering 90 million kroner, or roughly €12 million (AUD$18 milliom), to host three stages.
The proposal includes a prologue in Copehagen following by two road stages.
A Canadian study published in the British Medical Journal this week has found that female cyclists have a lower hospitalisation rate than men. According to the researchers, this may be because women tend to opt for safer cycling routes, including roads which feature better cycling infrastructure.
“Women were 50 per cent less likely to be injured to any body region and 60 per cent less likely when we were considering head injuries,” study author Jessica Dennis told CBS News.
“We know that women tend to ride a little more slowly, we know that women choose safer bike routes, they choose routes that have a designated bike lane, or a route that’s separated from traffic,” said Dennis. “These choices women are making, we can promote them, but we need policy makers to really buy into these separated bike routes or designated bike lanes that are going to provide cyclists the means to cycle more like a woman.”
The findings came out of a study into the effects of mandatory helmet laws; a study which showed no relationship between injury rates and the helmet legislation of the region in question.
Click here to read more at the BMJ.
Here’s a short clip of trials ace Vittoria Brumotti and road world champion Peter Sagan gadding about at the Sportful offices.
Adam Hansen couldn’t be in Melbourne on Friday night to accept his People’s Choice Award at the 2015 Cycling Australia awards, but he did send in an acceptance video … during his journey to Everest base camp no less. Note Hansen’s quip about the exorbitant cost of sending the video back to Australia …
And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed at CyclingTips in the past few days: