In this morning’s edition of the CyclingTips Daily News Digest: E3 Harelbeke course shortened for 2016, new cobbles added; Prudhomme – ‘Reducing riders will open up the race’; Armstrong – ‘If there was an equivalent to EPO today, everyone in cycling would be on it’; Wiggins on bulking up for Rio; December 20 deadline for both Ballan and Bayern Rundfahrt race; Bigla served ‘an early blow’ by being omitted from Ladies Tour of Qatar; Mitch Docker pulled over for “not unclipping at a stop sign”; Brumotti in Manilla; How to park in a bike lane.
E3 Harelbeke course shortened for 2016, new cobbles added
Organisers of E3 Harelbeke, the mid-week race traditionally used as a warm-up for the Tour of Flanders, have revealed a change to the 2016 edition which will see the route shortened and new cobblestones added.
The race will be reduced from 215km to 205km and the first climb will be held on a wider road than normal.
“The idea is to let the stress build a little more,” Guy Dedeyne of the organising committee told Sporza. “The race will be more compact and we have also decided to ride up to the first hill on wider roads. This is to guarantee the safety of the riders.
“There are also a few new cobblestones included in the course, so the competition will certainly not be easier. We can already say that a real bear will win this race.”
Geraint Thomas won the 2015 edition of E3 Harelbeke. The 2016 edition is scheduled for March 25.
Click here to read more at Cycling Weekly.
Prudhomme: ‘Reducing riders will open up the race’
In an email interview with VeloNews, Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme has defended the idea of reducing the number of riders per team from nine to eight in the three Grand Tours.
Here’s an excerpt:
“Concerning the question of reducing the number of riders per team, above all, we want to preserve the security. It’s a fundamental question that should be considered a priority before everything else. Before thinking about the number of teams in a race, we want to consider the question of security before anything else.
We also hope, as a consequence, that this will allow races to open up, and be less blocked, with a peloton that is less controlled and closed down by the big teams. It’s obvious that some teams have the means to control the race and dictate the action by the quality of its riders. To eliminate one rider would liberate some teams and open up the race. It could also help out smaller races, which are often left out because the bigger races absorb all the best riders.
To start with one less rider in the major races would allow the top teams to have more complete line-ups in the smaller races, which right now is difficult to do when teams have to bring 18 top riders to two races that might coincide. Logically, if there is one less rider at the top races, that would mean one more rider for the smaller races, and as a result, a better quality of teams across all levels of races.
Click here to read more at VeloNews.
Armstrong: ‘If there was an equivalent to EPO today, everyone in cycling would be on it’
Speaking to Jeremy Whittle of The Times, Lance Armstrong has said that were there a new, undetectable substance as effective as EPO available, “everyone would be on it.”
Reflecting on other riders’ perceptions of him, Armstrong said:
“None of my fellow competitors think I am a cheat. [His former teammate] Kevin Livingstone had the best comment in his deposition. They asked him, ‘What do you mean everyone was doing it? What percentage of riders in the Tour de France of your generation were on EPO? And he said, ‘Well, of the 190 riders in the Tour, 200 were on EPO.'”
Armstrong maintains he was clean during his comeback to the sport:
“In 2009, and 2010, I did nothing,” he insisted. “I have said that under oath. If there is a reliable test that absolutely works and they say, ‘Lance, give us your samples,’ then 100 per cent I’d be in favour. But they don’t want to do that because if I’m proven clean in 2009 and 2010, it works against their narrative,” he added.
Click here to read more at The Times.
Wiggins on bulking up for Rio
In an interview with the Sunday Times newspaper UCI Hour Record holder Bradley Wiggins has spoken of his continued transformation from stage-race rider back to track specialist, ahead of the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
Wiggins is spending long hours in the gym, working to add extra muscle in the hope of being some 16kg heavier than he was when he won the 2012 Tour de France.
“As important as nutrition was in the Tour de France in losing weight, this is about trying to gain weight, for me anyway. I crashed out at 69kg in 2011 and I am 79kg now. And after the European Championships I go into a two-month gym block at the velodrome, which has all been structured with nutrition, in order for me to gain 2 or 3kg of muscle. By the time I get to the Olympic Games, I am hoping to be 84 or 85kg, which is what I was in Beijing, before I went the other way for the Tour de France. So I will be 16kg heavier than when I won the Tour.”
Wiggins reflected on the differences between preparing for and competing in the Tour de France vs a pursuit effort on the track.
“This is a lot easier than the Tour de France. It is three minutes long and then it is over. There are fewer external variables, like wind and crashes. You are playing with fractions of a second. And I like that. It is quantifiable. It is like the hour record. If you do this power for this lap, for this given time, you will do this overall time.”
Click here to read more at Cyclingnews.
December 20 deadline for both Ballan and Bayern Rundfahrt race
by Shane Stokes
A deadline is looming within the world of cycling, with both a former world champion and the organisers of one of the biggest events in German cycling saying time is running out for them to remain within the sport.
Alessandro Ballan has been on the sidelines since January of last year after being given a ban by the Italian Olympic Committee CONI for the use or attempted use of banned substances. With his ban set to end next month, he wants to return to the peloton but has been unable to find a team. He has said that if he doesn’t find a squad by December 20, he will retire.
The same cut-off date has been named by the organisers of the Bayern Rundfahrt. They stated on Monday that the 37th edition would only take place if the budget shortfall of 300,000 euros was overcome by that point in time.
“We stand in responsibility towards our partners, in particular with respect to the stage towns and the teams that need reliable planning for the coming year,” stated race director Ewald Strohmeier. Therefore we have to decide if the race can take place or not. With the planned stage cities, we have agreed that we will carry out as planned the itinerary if there are, by December 20, new options for financing it.”
The 2016 edition of Bayern Rundfahrt is due to be held from May 24 to 29.
Click here to read more at CyclingTips.
Bigla served ‘an early blow’ by being omitted from Ladies Tour of Qatar
Organisers of the Ladies Tour of the Qatar — one of the key early-season races for the women’s peloton — have announced the 15 teams that will take part in the 2016 edition of the race in February. Noticeably absent from the list of invited teams is Bigla, the fifth-ranked team in 2015.
The list of invited teams is a mix of trade teams and national teams, including Ale Cipollini, Australia – AIS Cycling, Boels/Dolmans, Canyon Sram, China Chongming-Liv-Champion-System, Cylance Pro Cycling Team, Equipe De France, Hitec Products, Italian Cycling Federation, Lares-Waowdeals Uci Women Team, Orica-AIS, Rabo Liv, Team Liv Plantur, Unitedhealthcare Pro Cycling Team and Wiggle.
For Bigla, who will race as Cervélo-Bigla Pro Cycling in 2016, being omitted is a big blow.
“This is a 2.1 ranked race and as a top five team in the world they let us know they we won’t be invited,” said Team Manager Thomas Campana. “We have a sprinter in Lotta Lepistö who could win a stage here but the bigger picture is the race program affects our sponsor contracts. Programs are set and training camps are set and it affects everything and we now have to adapt.
“As a top 5 UCI team to not be invited it shows clearly that the UCI rules need to be re-evaluated. It’s a major impact for all our sponsors and partners and our race program.”
Click here to read more at Ella CyclingTips.
Mitch Docker pulled over for not unclipping at a stop sign?
We don’t know all the details but assuming Mitch Docker came to a complete stop at the stop sign, the decision to pull him over would seem to be rather strange.
Brumotti in Manila
Trials ace Vittorio Brumotti is a busy man. Here’s his latest trick-filled video, this one shot on the streets of Manila, The Philippines.
How to park in a bike lane
This video comes from entertainment outlet The Coast in Halifax, the capital of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. Funny stuff.
What You Missed
And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed at CyclingTips in the past few days:
- Verve Cycling InfoCrank review
- Dynamo Cover management state reasons for team’s stall, Dyball keeps focus to win Tour of Bright
- Ella Picks: Monday December 7
- Daily News Digest: Monday December 7