In this morning’s edition of the CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Greipel to delay season start again after successful 2015, Hansen to dispute all three Grand Tours; The mysterious case of Luca Paolini; Three potential buyers for the Giro d’Italia?; “It’s really shit” – Cult–Stolting Group riders worried after title sponsor’s exit; Boeckmans – I’ve thought about racing ever since I came out of my coma; Chris Juul-Jensen – a doping inspector calls; Hosking, Mullens and Edmondson extend with Wiggle Honda; Tink-off – The Inner Ring on Oleg Tinkov’s exit from the sport; The Bakery Bunch; Marcel Sieberg as new physiotherapist of Lotto Soudal; Spanish rider gives third place to punctured rival.
Greipel to delay season start again after successful 2015, Hansen to dispute all three Grand Tours
The Lotto Soudal squad has confirmed that André Greipel will adopt a similar approach to the 2016 season as he did this year.
The German sprinter had a superb showing in 2015, winning four stages in the Tour de France and also clocking up 12 other wins. Those included a stage in the Giro d’Italia and the overall classification in the Ster ZLM Toer. His strong Tour showing was attributed in part to delaying his season start, choosing to miss out on the Santos Tour Down Under and also to ride part of the Giro d’Italia. Unsurprisingly, he’s planning on doing the same again in 2016.
“André Greipel will race the first time on WorldTour level in Paris-Nice,” stated team manager Marc Sergeant. “The Tour remains obviously the main goal, but just as in 2015 he will ride the Giro.
“In January and February, there aren’t any big changes to our programme. We go to Down Under with Adam Hansen and Greg Henderson, who are both very motivated to perform well on their continent,” he stated. “They will also ride the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.”
As for Hansen, Sergeant confirmed plans for the Australian to try to further extend his staggering Grand Tour participation record: “He will race in May in Italy, in July in France and in September in Spain. At least without any accidents!”
Click here to read more at CyclingTips.
The mysterious case of Luca Paolini
It’s been five months since Luca Paolini’s positive test for cocaine and subsequent exit from the Tour de France. And yet, it’s still not clear whether Paolini has officially been suspended. But in an interview with Cyclingnews, Paolini’s former teammate Alexander Kristoff has shed some light on the situation and about Paolini more generally. In this first question he’s asked whether he was surprised about Paolini’s positive test:
“I was surprised but I know that he was struggling to sleep at night and to wake up in the day. He maybe abused sleeping pills to get to sleep but I was shocked that he was taking cocaine but if you look at the guy maybe he was the type of guy who could have done this. But I had no idea before. After, maybe it wasn’t such a big shock. I still don’t think that he took it in the race …
It’s normal in the pack to have sleeping tablets. If you can’t sleep you might have a muscle relaxer. Sometimes if you’re having pain in the legs and you can’t sleep. Normally we don’t take but if you can’t sleep then you must take it. I think he had more problems with this than others but I don’t know if he took them every day. I think he took more than other guys.
Have you spoken to him since the Tour?
Not really. He’s not really good with English. He’s not asked for the B-sample, so for sure he knows that he’s done something wrong. I don’t really know how the case is going. I don’t know if it’s settled. I’ve not heard that much.
Click here to read more at Cyclingnews.
Three potential buyers for the Giro d’Italia?
Italian financial newspaper Milano Finanza reports that there are three offers on the table to buy the Giro d’Italia from current owner RCS Mediagroup. Those bids come from China’s richest man — Wang Jianlin — from Discovery Communications (the organisation behind Discovery Channel) and from IMG.
Discovery Channel is well known in the cycling world, having sponsored Lance Armstrong’s team for a time, while IMG is a TV rights organisation and has partnered with RCS Sports for the past three years. Wang Jianlin’s company Wanda Sports owns Infront Sports & Media, the World Triathlon Corporation and Ironman.
It is believed a deal could be done quickly and changes could start to be implemented in 2016. The sale has been prompted by the fact RCS Mediagroup is reportedly some €440m (AU$670 million) in debt.
Click here to read more at Cycling Weekly.
“It’s really shit:” Cult – Stolting Group riders worried after title sponsor’s exit
Last week brought news that Team Cult – Stolting Group was losing the first of those two sponsors, with the Danish company quitting the squad it had backed since 2013. Now, speaking to TV2 Sport, two of the team’s riders have admitted they are very worried.
“Of course I feel cheated,” says Lasse Norman Hansen. He moved to the team after a two years with Cannondale-Garmin and wanted to move his career to a new level.
“I thought I had finally found me a good team and to have kick-started my career again,” he said. “So I actually feel that I have been screwed. What the hell can I do? I can not do a damn thing now.”
Another of the team’s riders, Rasmus Quaade, also voiced concerns.
“It is something really shit. We are they now in a situation where it gets really difficult to find new team. If the teams are full, budgets are spent.”
Click here to read more at CyclingTips.
Boeckmans: I’ve thought about racing ever since I came out of my coma
Kris Boeckmans’ recovery from a serious crash at this year’s Vuelta a Espana continues with the Belgian in attendance at the Lotto Soudal training camp in Mallorca this week.
“The training camp has gone better than expected. I’ve carried on with my rehabilitation exercise and I’ve managed to get some rides in as well,” Boeckmanms told Cyclingnews from the team’s camp.
“On the first day I was able to do a couple of hours of a ride with the team but it was just at an easy pace. The next day I did around an hour and then I went my own way. I had a recovery day with some more rehab and then I did three hours the next day. I’ve managed to get some climbing in to and it’s really been incredible, as before I was here I’d only done a few short rides.”
Boeckmans suffered serious facial trauma, concussion, broken ribs, a lacerated lung and was kept in an induced coma as a result of the crash. Since waking from the coma, however, he’s been focused on getting back to racing.
“I’ve been thinking about a comeback and racing since I woke up from my coma. Within an hour I was thinking about it,” he told Cyclingnews. “My head still needs some recovery but already if you compare where I was two weeks ago there’s so much progress.”
Click here to read more at Cyclingnews.
Chris Juul-Jensen: a doping inspector calls
Orica-GreenEdge signee Chris Juul-Jensen (currently Tinkoff-Saxo) has written a great piece for Rouleur about the realities of anti-doping testing for the elite cyclist. Here’s an excerpt:
“Finally, there’s the paperwork. There are quite a lot of questions on them, such as “have I been in a sauna within the last two hours?” Sometimes I feel like saying yes, just to see their reaction. I mean, who goes to the sauna between four and six in the morning?
Another great question is: “Have I had a blood transfusion within the last couple of days?” That’s a funny one to answer. Obviously it’s a no. But it’s still strange how my body language changes. It’s like when a police officer asks at a random roadblock check whether you’ve been drinking. You haven’t touched a drop, but automatically you feel under interrogation. Your sentences get all jumbled up and you get paranoid with the way they are looking at you.
“Have you had a blood transfusion?”
“NO! I mean, no. No, I haven’t. Of course not! Why? What are you implying?”
Click here to read the full article at Rouleur.
Hosking, Mullens and Edmondson extend with Wiggle Honda
Wiggle Honda has confirmed that Australians Chloe Hosking and Peta Mullens have extended with the team for 2016, joining fellow Australian Nettie Edmondson who did the same last week.
“I’m really happy to re-sign with Wiggle Honda for 2016,” Hosking said. “Personally, my 2015 season was really rewarding until an injury sidelined me at the end of July so I’m really looking forward to building on the results that I achieved at the beginning of this year,” said Hosking. “I was really grateful for the team staying behind me as I rehabbed and I want to give back to them in 2016 with more results and more team victories.”
Mullens has said she’s keen to spend more time racing on the road this year, after winning the Australian road nationals in 2015 then switching to MTBing for the rest of the year.
“It’s so incredibly difficult to comprehend how winning the National Road Championship in January this year didn’t see Peta shift her focus over to the road,” said team owner Rochelle Gilmore. “However it does show that she’s very committed to her MTB goals. Peta will go 100% for MTB Olympic selection during 2016 and if or when she hears that she may not make the selection, she will then shift he focus over to the road. If Peta takes her road racing seriously, I’m sure she will make the Olympic Games Road Team.”
Belgian and Japanese national champions Jolien D’hoore and Mayuko Hagiwara also remain with the team in 2016, along with French time trial champion Audrey Cordon-Ragot. Swedish champion Emma Johansson and Dutchwoman Amy Pieters will also join the squad next year.
Tink-off: The Inner Ring on Oleg Tinkov’s exit from the sport
We’ve learned in the past few days that Tinkoff-Saxo owner Oleg Tinkov will step away from cycling at the end of next year. Now, The Inner Ring has weighed in on Tinkov’s legacy and about his claims that he hasn’t had the support he needed to revolutionise the sport. Here’s an excerpt:
“Tinkov will leave lamenting the teams’ collective inability to reform the sport. But we’ve never seen where the money could come from. Onboard cameras are fun but ask yourself how much you’d pay per view? There’s the answer: they’re not worth much.
Serving VIPs and paying punters is still an untapped market with a range of ideas in return for access still largely unexplored but hardly a gold mine either. TV rights are seen as the big issue but … even if ASO decided to pay away half of its revenue to the 18 WorldTour teams this would amount to €3.8 million per year per team or about quarter of a team’s budget. Now that’s serious money but not game-changing. More importantly it’s a fantasy idea since ASO wouldn’t pay out half of its revenue; and it couldn’t because it’s got a business to run.
If ASO decided to pay out half of its profits instead, teams would collect €860,000 each, an irrelevant sum but still fantasy to imagine ASO charitably donating its profits to teams reliant on the platform offered by the Tour de France to attract their sponsorship.
Click here to read the full article at The Inner Ring.
The Bakery Bunch
We enjoyed watching this short film from Jeremy Gillman-Wells which serves as a great primer on one of Canberra’s most well-loved group rides: the Bakery Bunch. As the film shows, the Bakery Bunch has been going for 30 years and often attracts a number of pros and former pros.
Marcel Sieberg as new physiotherapist of Lotto Soudal
This is good fun from the Lotto Soudal but please don’t try this at home!
Spanish rider gives third place to punctured rival
This video seemingly shows a rider in a Spanish race allowing his rival to take third place after that rival punctured close to the finish. Great sportsmanship if that is indeed what happened!
What You Missed
And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed at CyclingTips in the past few days:
- What is the right amount of exercise for optimal mental health?
- Q&A with UCI technical manager Mark Barfield: weight limit, disc brakes, motors in bikes & more
- Daily News Digest: Monday December 14