Wednesday, May 29, 2013

2013 Tour de France Route Finalised

 100th edition to end with a showdown in the Alps

Tour de France organisers ASO has finalised the details and route maps of this year's race, with the final race distance.

The stage start and finish towns remain the same but distances have changed slightly after the final route and roads have been decided.

The 100th edition of the Tour de France starts in 32 days time on Saturday, June 29 in Porto Vecchio, on the island of Corsica. It is the first time the Mediterranean island has hosted the Tour de France. The first road race stage will cover a distance of 213km, with the winner taking the first race leader's yellow jersey of this year's Tour.

This year's race route follows an anti-clockwise direction around France. Following two further road stages in Corsica from Bastia to Ajaccio (156km) and from Ajaccio to Calvi (145.5km), the race transfer to Nice for a 25km team time trial.

The race climbs into the Pyrenees during the first weekend with a mountain finish at AX 3 Domaines after 195km of racing. Sunday's 168.5km ninth stage covers five cols before the descent to the finish in Bagnères-de-Bigorre.

The race transfers north to Brittany on the first rest day, with a 33km individual time trial from Avranches to Mont-Saint-Michel before turning south and heading to the Alps via Lyon and Mont Ventoux. The bald mountain of Provence is climbed on stage 15 after 242.5km in the saddle.

The Alps will decide this year's winner with the double ascension of L'Alpe d'Huez on stage 18 expected to special. Stage 20 to Annecy is only 125km long but ends with the climb to 10.7km Semnoz that has an average gradient of 8.5%.

The second individual time trial comes on stage 17, before the Alps, meaning the final overall classification will be decided on the climbs and not against the clock.

The winner of the 100th edition of the Tour de France will be crowned on the Champs Elysees on Sunday July 21, after a 133.5km stage that ends late in the evening.

Article Source: Cycling News

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Testing the Giro Air Attack with BMC Racing Team

Travel to Denia, Spain where testing is being conducted with the BMC Racing Team on the velodrome and on the roads, in order to evaluate the performance of the Air Attack.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Team Blanco to become Team Belkin for the Tour de France?

Announcement hoped for within 10 days, as both sides confirm discussions

Will Team Belkin be at the start of the Tour de France? Both Team Blanco and the US firm have confirmed their discussions about sponsorship of the Dutch ProTour team.

Richard Plugge, Blanco team manager, confirmed to De Telegraaf that, as earlier reported, Belkin is currently at the head of the list. “Although we are still in serious talks with other companies,” he said.

"We have serious interest and indeed see the opportunities to increase our brand awareness through cycling and to show what the world we do. It is premature to say that there is an agreement,” a Belkin spokesman told De Telegraaf.

The company is expected to make its decision within 10 days. A quick decision is needed, not only to prepare the team materiel with the new sponsor's name and logo, but also to reassure the riders that the team will continue, and convince them to stay for next season, if not longer.

Personnel changes in 2014?

If Belkin does come on as sponsor, it may want American riders on the team, and Blanco has already started inquiring as to what Americans will be available in the coming year. “But we have also asked about Asian and European riders,” Plugge said.

However, he did confirm that a more international character would probably be more desirable to a non-Dutch sponsor, which means that a number of Dutch riders may have to look for a new team. This year's roster of 29 riders features 19 Dutch men.

At least two Dutch riders are said to have been contacted by other teams. Team Sky is said to be interested in Lars Boom and Orica-GreenEdge in Tom-Jelte Slagter.

Another question that arises is the role of former sponsor Rabobank. The bank had said that it would continue to pay the contracts of 18 riders, including Robert Gesink and Bauke Mollema, through the 2014 season. However, if the team has a new sponsor, it is not known whether the bank would continue its financial support. Plugge said, “Rabobank has indicated that they also want to help in 2014," which could indicate that there are no solid plans.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Team Jamis/Hagens Berman Presented by Sutter Home - Xenith SL

(2013) Tour of California Commercial Spot - Xenith SL

Featuring: Team Jamis/Hagens Berman Presented by Sutter Home and 2013 Jamis Xenith SL bike

Friday, May 17, 2013

WADA Moving Towards Four-Year Bans For Doping Offenders

Agency reviewing thousands of comments for proposed Code amendments

First-time doping offenders who are “real cheats” could face up to a four-year ban for a first doping offense, under the proposed amended Anti-Doping Code of the World Anti-Doping Agency.  WADA has reviewed more than 4,000 comments from stakeholders on its proposed amendments.

“Real cheats” would be those who used  anabolic steroids, human growth hormone, masking agents and the trafficking of prohibited methods and substances.  Current regulation call for only a two-year ban for a first-time offence. On the other hand, the new Code would also bring more flexibility in determining sanctions “in other specific circumstances,” which were not made known.

Not only athletes would be subject to investigation and sanctioning under the new code.  It would also cover “Athlete Support Personnel who are also involved in doping”.

The amended code will be put to vote at the World Conference on Doping in Sport to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from November 12 to 15 this year. The new code would take effect in 2015.

The amendments also would take into consideration “the principles of proportionality and human rights”, and assist in anti-doping investigations, as well as emphasize “the concepts of smart test distribution planning, smart menus for Sample analysis, and smart sample storage.”

"It says to cheats: 'We're going to get you and deal with you even more effectively than we have in the past'," said Fahey, according to "We're in business to protect the overwhelming majority of clean athletes around the world.

"The way you protect clean athletes and support them is to deal properly and effectively with the cheats."

Article Source: Cycling News

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Van Garderen in Perfect Position in Tour of California

By: Laura Weislo
Palm Springs stage widens gaps

American Tejay van Garderen (BMC) has been on the podium in numerous stage races, but has yet to stand atop the final podium in a major event since graduating to the WorldTour. His luck could be turning around, however, as the second Tour of California stage left him in what he called a perfect position for the overall classification.

Van Garderen lost contact with stage winner Janier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman) on the steep final climb at the Palm Springs Tramway, losing 12 seconds over the course of the final 500 meters, but said he had to make a choice at that moment to follow and risk going to far into the red, or let Acevedo go and limit his losses.

"The stage win would have been nice, and the [leader's] jersey would have been a nice gift, but what's important is to have the jersey in the end, and I feel very confident I can beat Acevedo in a time trial," van Garderen said.

After taking consecutive, frustrating podium finishes in the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado, being on the podium of the Critérium du Dauphiné and Critérium International, and taking the best young rider classification in the Tour de France, van Garderen has been touted as the rider to beat in this year's Tour of California.

Now with a 15-second lead on UnitedHealthcare's Philip Deignan, and a 33-second lead on the next well-known time trialist, Michael Rogers (Saxo-Tinkoff), more than a minute on Cameron Meyer (Orica GreenEdge) and Matthew Busche (RadioShack), and a host of lesser-known domestic riders in the midst, van Garderen is feeling confident of his chances.

"It's nice to get a little bit of a buffer between them," he said. "You can never count them out, Mick [Rogers] was a three time world champion, and there are good time trialers out there, but it's certainly good to be the best placed GC time trialer in this race right now."

Busche became his team's impromptu leader after both Andy Schleck and Haimar Zubeldia lost contact on the final climb, and he thinks Acevedo can still be counted as a favorite.

"I guess now by natural selection, I'll be the leader of the team," Busche said. "Tejay obviously is the favorite still. And I believe Acevedo won the stage, so those two will be the favorites for sure. I don't know much about Acevedo, but obviously Tejay can time trial like heck. And even Phillip Deignen. At the bottom he attacked and he rode a heck of a climb.

"I'm disappointed that I lost contact with those front guys. I gave it all I had, but it was brutal. So we'll see from here."

The stage was a big boost to the morale to the domestic US riders, in particular Haga, who came across in seventh, 1:13 behind Acevedo.

"I came off the lead group shortly before halfway up, and then I had to ride my own pace the rest of the way up the climb," Haga said, adding that maintaining his top 10 spot overall is a good goal.

When asked how it felt to be showing his back wheel to some of the top riders in the world, Haga said, "It's pretty awesome, I certainly wanted to do it. That's half of it, to want to and think you can."

Pat Malach contributed to this report.

Source: Cycling News

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mancebo leads 5-hour Energy Team at Tour of California

Jenkins and English excited to compete in "home" race

Paco Mancebo (Kenda-5 Hour Energy) before he gets to the front to attack.
Paco Mancebo (Kenda-5 Hour Energy) before he gets to the front to attack.
Francisco "Paco" Mancebo will lead the 5-hour Energy presented by Kenda Racing Team at the 2013 Tour of California, starting on Sunday, May 12. Fresh off winning the final stage of the Gila Monster Road Race and finishing third overall, Mancebo is a two-time NRC champion.

"Both the team and I are very motivated to race against the big ProTour teams and leave it all on the road," said Mancebo. "My goal is top 10 in the general classification, especially after seeing how tough the stages and time trial will be. I really like the second stage with finish in Palm Springs due to the distance and difficulty, also stage 7 with finish on Mt Diablo, but you need to be strong from the first day. I believe the 5-hour Energy team is capable of winning a stage and doing well in the general classification."

Team Directeur Sportif Frankie Andreu said, "The Tour of California is one of the highlights for the team. The new route covers some exciting new ground and includes some very difficult obstacles that will suit our team. Many of our riders are familiar with Palomar Mountain, the Tramway in Palm Springs, and Mount Diablo, and we can utilize our team's strengths on these epic California climbs. This will be a great opportunity to race against the world's best cyclists, showcase our sponsors, and interact with our fans. The event continues to grow each year and we are excited to take part in the race in 2013."

The 5-hour Energy squad will include seven American riders: Max Jenkins, Nate English, Jim Stemper, and David Williams.

The Tour of California is a home race for the team's two California riders, English and Jenkins. English grew up in Berkeley, California, and is a graduate of the University of California Berkeley.

"The Tour of California will be a special race to me, not just from a sporting point of view, but also personally," said English. "I started racing in the San Francisco Bay Area and know a lot of the local riders who will show their support by lining the roads and rooting for me and my team. I would really love to give my best effort with my best fitness and see how I stack up. At Cali, it'll be special."

Jenkins is originally from Novosibirsk, Russia and became a US citizen in 2007. He currently resides in Citrus Heights, California and is also a graduate of the UC Berkeley.

"Racing the Tour of California is a very exciting opportunity for me, especially since stage 7 finishes on top of Mt. Diablo, which is where I first started cycling," said Jenkins. "I know that road like the back of my hand and it will be exhilarating racing up there. I expect to have a ton of friends and family cheering me up that climb, so it's going to be an experience I'll treasure forever. This is going to be my second time doing the race and so I have some idea of what to expect. I know it is going to be a challenging race, but our 5-hour Energy pb Kenda is the strongest team in the US and we will be able to hold our own."

The squad is currently the number-one ranked team in the NRC standings.

5-hour Energy presented by Kenda Racing Team for Tour of California: Nate English, Max Jenkins, Francisco "Paco" Mancebo, Shawn Milne, Taylor Shelden, James Stemper, Bobby Sweeting,
David Williams

Article Source: Cycling News

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Team Sky Plays Down Talk of a Colombian Conspiracy Within Team

By: Stephen Farrand
Reports Uran will leave team

Team Sky has denied reports of a possible Colombian conspiracy inside the team after Bradley Wiggins was left isolated in the finale of stage four of the Giro d'Italia and lost 17 precious seconds to his overall rivals.

Today's Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper speculates that both Rigoberto Uran and Sergio Henao rode their own race perhaps because both are considering leaving Team Sky at the end of the season.

Cyclingnews understands that Henao could stay with the British team beyond 2013 but Uran will almost certainly leave. His seventh place in the 2012 Giro d'Italia and his haul of UCI points make the 25 year-old Colombian a prime target for teams looking to secure their place in the UCI WorldTour and for a future Grand Tour leader.

Omega Pharma-Quick Step is in currently in pole position to sign Uran with four other teams also interested, including Astana.

Team Sky has a plethora of leaders with Wiggins, Froome and Porte, who has agreed to stay with the team until 2015. That leaves little room for the Colombian riders.

However Team Sky has insisted that Uran and Henao did not ride for themselves on the stage but followed team orders that had been decided before the start of the stage. Head coach Rod Ellingworth told Cyclingnews at the start of stage five that both Uran and Henao were told to contest the sprint to try and take away the 20, 12 and 8 second time bonuses from Wiggins' rivals.

On stage three, Cadel Evans (BMC) won the sprint for second place and took a 12-secobnd time bonus, with Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) finishing third, and so picking up eight seconds.

Wiggins lost time on stage four because he was not near the front of the peloton, with Evans, Nibali and Hesjedal, and was caught behind a split in the peloton after a late crash.

Team Sky looked to minimise the 17-second loss. However it was more than the 14 seconds Team Sky gained on key rival Vincenzo Nibali and his Astana team in the team time trial. Gazzetta dello Sport pointed out the importance of every second in stage racing. Last year Joaquim Rodriguez lost the Giro d'Italia to Hesjedal by just 16 seconds.

Article Source: Cycling News

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Thursday, May 2, 2013

How the Blue Train Helps Hilton Clarke Dominate the NCC

 by Gus Grissom

“Yes, we’re all getting a little older, but it’s still a lot of fun to race. When we (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team) have a plan and execute it’s a great feeling. It’s one of my favorite things.”
With this acknowledgement of the huge role his team plays in his own victories and appreciation of the sport, Hilton Clarke, the current points leader on the 2013 National Criterium Calendar (NCC) and last year’s NCC overall champion, makes it clear that even though he’s been racing hard on the American criterium scene for over a decade, the sport just keeps getting more exciting as the years go by and the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team gets stronger.

But Clarke’s racing experience goes far beyond criterium events in America; it actually extends all the way back to his childhood in Australia where he says he spent many afternoons “hanging out over the rails on the side of the velodrome” where his father, who was an Olympic cyclist, regularly put on displays of racing – and winning – prowess, displays that clearly shaped the way Clarke himself learned to win. As he was watching the races, Clarke says, he was “really trying to break down how the guy who won managed to do it.” Winning, he says, is more than being the fastest, “it’s all about learning the craft” and knowing how to be in the right place at the right time.

When he first came to America, he admits, he “was very unfamiliar with the American style of racing and training: watts, power and all the data measurements.” But he was able to find success early by implementing the skills he had learned at the velodrome into criterium events. Though he had spent some time racing in Europe, he says, “It wasn’t until I came to America that I really found the passion for criterium racing. There is so much constant aggressive racing going on,” he says, that is was impossible not to feel passionate about it. “I found out quickly that I loved [this style of racing] because there is so much going on. The corners are always coming at you very quickly. You have to attack them constantly and there are so many guys who want to be in the same place that you have to think quickly and get to the right place first.”

But it’s not simply criterium events for which Clarke developed a passion: it’s American criterium events. Besides the significant prize lists – which Clarke is quick to admit he and his UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling teammates love! – the atmosphere is also easy to love. “At the major criterium events there are so many people and the courses are dark; it feels like you’re racing in the middle of the night.” The energy from the crowd, of course, feeds directly into the energy of the race. Clarke explains, “Everyone is on edge at the start. Then the gun goes and there’s total chaos and everyone goes as fast as they can through the darkness.”

But what is it about Clarke that makes him such a dominant “criterium specialist,” capable of winning on the most technical courses against the strongest riders week after week on the National Criterium Calendar? Clarke is quick to credit the strength of the teammates who keep him out of trouble during the race and put him in the perfect spot to win in the decisive moments. “Our team has a really strong core group that has been together for three or four years. So we have a lot of experience and know each other’s style completely. We have a system as a team and we try to execute it at every race. When all six guys execute that plan perfectly, it’s tough to beat. But it only works when we are riding together as one unit. Our team has developed its own instinct and that’s what makes it possible to win as often as we do.

“In addition, having great sponsors that are supportive makes a tremendous difference, especially UnitedHealthcare. Many of our sponsors are at the races. We do events and community-based activities for them. And when you spend time with them before and after races, you see and feel how excited and supportive they are of the team. That makes all the difference in the world,” he said.

Clarke goes on to explain that though he does not get to spend a lot of time with his teammates when they are not actually at the race venues, they stay caught up with each other electronically. “We have an app (WhatsApp), that we use to send messages to each other all the time. Sometimes before races we’re just joking around to lighten the mood and relieve the tension.” But, for the most part, the riders on “the crit squad,” as Clarke calls it, live and train separately from each other. “But we know each other really well. We’ve been together for a long time and every year we do Speed Week, which is really more like two weeks on the road together. So we have a good friendship going.” When asked if they ever “compete” during the off-periods to see who is training the hardest or putting in the most miles, Clarke says that no one on the team does that. “Well,” he admits, ”maybe the climbers do it a little…”

But Clarke also admits there are many riders who have helped him develop the ability to win races on the fast, technical courses that are the norm for these twilight criterium events. “When I first started racing in America,” he says, “guys like Graeme Miller would tell me ‘if you don’t touch your brakes, you will win.’” But he is quick to add that it’s not about being reckless. Instead, he explains, “it’s all about thinking ahead and putting yourself in a position where you don’t have to touch the brakes, where you won’t have to avoid any dangerous moves from other riders.” Thinking ahead allows Clarke to race very efficiently. “I think I’m known by my teammates as being the most efficient in the crits, especially in the corners. If you look at my power meter after the race, all of my numbers will generally be the lowest of my team.” This, he explains, is due to his experience as a crit specialist over the past decade and the lessons he’s learned along the way. “I do feel like I’m not as strong now as I was in my twenties, but I win more races now than I did back then. The experience I have now outweighs the youthful brashness and power I had back then.”

And so it is that Hilton Clarke and the whole UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team consistently find themselves at the front of the action and on the top step of the podium in criterium events all over America. With five wins already this season and a clear lead in both individual and team standings on the National Criterium Calendar, the Blue Train is clearly going to be hard to beat. Clarke admits that sometimes even he has a hard time hanging on to the runaway Blue Train in the closing laps. “Yeah, some of the most important communication we have as team is when we have to tell [Karl] Menzies to slow down a bit. Sometimes we are yelling ‘go easy!’ so I can hang on long enough for him to drop me off with about 200 meters to go. We have to temper all that power he has.” With a powerful team like this around him, there is little doubt why Hilton Clarke is considered one of the best criterium racers in the sport and why UnitedHealthCare Pro Cycling Team dominates the National Criterium Circuit.

Article Source: USA Cycling