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by Matt de Neef
December 17, 2015
Photography by Jered & Ashley Gruber
In this morning’s edition of the CyclingTips Daily News Digest: After months without a verdict, Paolini cocaine positive referred to UCI anti-doping tribunal; Trek Factory Racing becomes Trek-Segafredo as three-year sponsorship deal announced; Adam Hansen – there’s more to me than my Grand Tours record; Rodriguez laments losing Dani Moreno to Movistar; Tour de Pologne forced to move to avoid Olympics clash, women’s Tour of Pologne added; Emma Pooley to come out of retirement in pursuit of Olympic Gold; Debunking the curse of the rainbow jersey; Chris Froome celebrates the birth of his first child; Lance Armstrong interviewed by Joe Rogan; Oh Watt a Wonderful Christmas – season’s greetings from Team Sky.
by Shane Stokes
It’s been five months without any news on the Luca Paolini doping case from this year’s Tour de France but, finally, it appears that there is some movement happening.
“The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announces that it has referred Mr. Luca Paolini’s case to the UCI Anti-Doping Tribunal,” the sport’s governing body said. “The tribunal shall hear Mr. Paolini’s case and render a judgment in accordance with the Tribunal Procedural Rules. The decision will be published in due course on the UCI website.”
Announced in September 2014, the UCI anti-doping tribunal was set up in order to avoid national bodies passing judgements that could be favourable to the athletes in question. It was also intended to speed up the process.
While the Paolini case should have come under that jurisdiction, the reason for the delay hasn’t been stated. After months without a final conclusion, Wednesday’s announcement will hopefully lead to a decision soon on the matter.
Click here to read more at CyclingTips.
Trek Factory Racing has confirmed that Italian coffee brand Segafredo has signed on as co-title-sponsor for the next three years.
“With Segafredo we have found a partner that shares the same values,” team manager Luca Guercilena said. “The importance of this deal and the security it offers will allow us to invest even more in the roster that we have and develop young riders.”
The increased budget should also enable the team to chase new signings. Fabian Cancellara is almost certainly heading into his final season and this too will free up funds for 2017 and beyond. The 2014 Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali is known to be one who is of interest to the team and with Segafredo an Italian brand, his desired signing seems an understandable one.
Adam Hansen might be best known for holding the record for the most consecutive Grand Tours (13 … so far) but as the 34-year-old Czech resident prepares for another season, he’s told Cyclingnews that there’s far more to him than people realise.
“People always ask the question about the Grand Tours. I don’t want to be remembered just for that. I’ve won some good races and every race I go to I’m always trying to be aggressive and active,” Hansen told Cyclingnews from the Lotto Soudal team camp in Mallorca. “I’m always ready to race and I can’t honestly remember the last time I’ve had bad form and just tried to get through it. I love to race, I love to attack and these are the things I want to do.”
Hansen will start his 2016 season with the Australian road nationals, the Tour Down Under and the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. He’ll then return to Europe as he builds towards the Giro d’Italia.
“When I first started on the Grand Tours I never sat down and planned it. But the team were so happy with the first year when is started them that they just gave me the same programme again. Knock on wood it just keeps going,” Hansen told Cyclingnews.
Click here to read more at Cyclingnews.
Joaquim Rodriguez has told the Spanish press that the loss of Dani Moreno for 2016 has been hard to take. Moreno has been with Rodriguez and Katusha since 2011 but in 2016 he’ll be on the Movistar squad, supporting Alejandro Valverde.
“It’s true that the loss of Dani has been a ‘bitch’ for me because he was a rider that I would always have in the final and we will notice his absence a lot,” Rodríguez told Biciclismo. “Dani was very important because he was similar to me and now he will do the same with Valverde. They are both very explosive [riders] and if it was difficult to beat [Valverde] imagine what it will be like with the addition of Dani.”
There are signs that 2016 could be Rodriguez’s last as a professional. He’s starting the year with the Dubai Tour and will build towards the Tour de France as his mid-year goal. After the Olympics in Rio he’ll possibly line up at the Vuelta a Espana as well.
“Yes it is a course that I like,” he said. “It scares me too because this year we don’t have the break that we normally have after the Tour de France to rest. I will still be competing and I am also very focused because the Olympics are very important. I will have to see how I feel and then assess whether or not I go for the general classification or look for stages.”
And speaking of the Olympics, the Tour de Pologne (Tour of Poland) has been forced to change dates in order to avoid a clash with the Rio road race and time trial. The change of dates — from early August to mid July — will mean the race clashes with the Tour de France, however.
“The same thing happened in 2012, when there were the London Games, and it was absolutely no problem,” said race organiser Czeslaw Lang. “The Tour de France is and always will be the most important race in the world. However, the World Tour teams have the resources to line up competitive squads on several fronts at the same time.”
In fact, Lang sees the date shift as potentially a big positive for the event. “By anticipating the date the Tour de Pologne will become the last, short, high-level stage race before the Olympics. Poland can be a valid alternative for all those riders and teams who can’t take part in the Grande Boucle, or who prefer to take on a one week stage race in order to finish training for the big event in Rio.”
Lang has also confirmed that the first women’s Tour de Pologne will be held next season, running from July 18 to 20 (after the men’s event). This race will form part of the new women’s WorldTour calendar.
by Anne-Marije Rook
Tempted by the “rare” hilly time trial course at the Rio Olympics, former world time trial champion Emma Pooley has announced she hopes to join the British Cycling team in Rio and make a bid for gold.
As the current long distance duathlon World Champion, Pooley has no intention to return to road cycling fulltime but the hilly courses in Rio were too enticing to ignore.
“My main focus will remain long-distance triathlon and duathlon…In September I want to defend my title as world champion in long-distance duathlon. Because of the hilly nature of the time trial course in Rio, this is a truly rare opportunity that I can’t resist. I’ve decided it’s worth a serious attempt at targeting that event. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a comeback but 2016 will certainly be a different race programme for me,” Pooley said in a press release.
While it was British Cycling who initially asked her to consider a return, Pooley’s selection is not guaranteed. She, like everyone else, has to earn her selection first.
“I’m happy knowing I won’t get selected unless I really do have the potential to win. I have no desire to go to the Rio Games, and sacrifice some of the most exciting triathlon races of the season, just for the experience of another Olympics – I’m committed to aiming for gold. I’m also so grateful for the encouragement and advice of some really good coaches and scientists at British Cycling, because that helps me to believe that I might be able to achieve that dream,” Pooley stated.
Thirty-three-year-old Pooley retired from road racing in 2014 to return to her original love: triathlon.
Click here to read more at Ella CyclingTips.
The curse of the rainbow jersey suggests that the winner of the Road World Championships will struggle in the year after claiming the title. It’s one of those long-held beliefs that’s been difficult to confirm or refute.
Now, Swiss researcher Thomas Perneger has published a paper in the British Medical Journal in which he crunches the numbers to see whether “the curse” stands up or not. He looked at the number of victories a rider took in the year they won the World Championships, then compared this to the two years after that.
The result? It turns out that world champions do tend to be less successful in the year following their World Championship victory, but as Perneger says: “this is best explained by regression to the mean, not by a curse.” That is, a successful season will generally be followed by a less successful one, regardless of the jersey you wear.
Click here to read more at the BMJ.
Two-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome and his wife Michelle have celebrated the birth of their first child: a son named Kellan.
Kellan Froome ?? pic.twitter.com/TGTnSK59oz
— Chris Froome (@chrisfroome) December 15, 2015
Kellan Froome ?? pic.twitter.com/TGTnSK59oz
— Chris Froome (@chrisfroome) December 15, 2015
Froome will begin his 2016 season at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour in February.
If you haven’t yet had enough of the Armstrong Saga, this interview is worth a watch. In it, Armstrong sits down for two hours with podcaster Joe Rogan for what is an honest and compelling discussion. Armstrong seems more comfortable here than in other interviews he’s done recently. (A quick warning: the interview contains a fair amount of coarse language.)
This Christmas video from Team Sky is only short but it’s quite clever.
If you’re interested to see how the video came together, you can watch a behind-the-scenes clip here.
And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed at CyclingTips in the past few days: