Another Aussie to Saxo-Tinkoff
Rory Sutherland agreed to a two-year contract with first division team, Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank. He will join fellow Aussie Jay McCarthy, who announced his contract last week. Over the past six years, he raced in the USA and won stages in the Tour of Utah and Tour of Colorado.
“His results also show that he is a versatile rider who can both climb and is strong on the line when he has an opportunity,” Team Manager Bjarne Riis said in a press release. “So for me it was natural to give him the chance to test himself at the highest level.”
Sutherland initially came through the Rabobank system, turning pro with the Dutch team in 2005. However, he tested positive for clomiphene the same year and was suspended.
He said he is ready to return to Europe. “[I] feel that the time has come to try something new and find out how far I can go at the highest level.
Jay McCarthy Signs with Saxo-Tinkoff Bank
Also signed by Saxo-Tinkoff until 2014 is Australian neo-pro Jay McCarthy who is now an AIS graduate. The talented 20 year old has had a remarkable year, with results in the Tour de l’Avenir, Trofeo Piva Banca Popolare di Vicenza, stage wins at the Tours of Bretagne, Toscana Terra di Ciclismo as well as the overall win at the New Zealand Cycle Classic. Read more details on CyclingCentral.
Jonathan Cantwell signs for another season
Jonathan Cantwell’s persistance and hard work has paid off in his first season in the World tour having raced almost 80 days which includes racing his first Tour de France. He was given a one-year contract renewal with the Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank team for the 2013 season. Read more on cyclingnews.
Cavendish free to leave Sky
Mark Cavendish is free to leave Sky. According to Cycling Weekly, the 2011 World Champion negotiated a free release from his three-year contract that will allow him to join another team.
OmegaPharma-Quick Step and Cavendish have already agreed to a contract and that the announcement is imminent, according to some reports.
The free release allows Cavendish to avoid a seven-figure buy-out clause and announce the contract. La Gazzetta dello Sport recently suggested Omega’s bike sponsor, Specialized, was ready to foot the €1.2m bill.
Last month, Sky’s team manager, David Brailsford indicated that a solution was in the interests of British Cycling. He is also the body’s performance director.
“We have known each other for a long time,” Brailsford said, according to The Telegraph. “It’s in my interest and his interests that we find the best long term solution.”
Sky signed Cavendish for three years, 2012 to 2014, at a reported £2m a year. It developed into a stage racing power-house, however, and left little room left for cycling’s top sprinter. Instead of winning his usual five to six stages at the Tour this year, he only won three.
SKY signs Baby Giro winner
After becoming the first American winner of the Under 27 Giro d’Italia or the GiroBio this year, Joe Dombrowski will turn professional with team Sky. Yesterday the British team announced it signed him and compatriot Ian Boswell.
“Ian and Joe are two of the most talented under-23 riders in the world and we will offer them the best possible race and training programmes to aid their progression,” Team Sky Race Coach Bobby Julich explained in a press release. “We see this as a long-term project at Team Sky and it’ll be exciting for everyone involved.”
Boswell placed second in the Under 23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège and rode as a trainee for Argos-Shimano this year. The 21-year-olds raced with US amateur team Bontrager-Livestrong for the last two years.
A weekend in Italy
Despite the presentations, the 2012 season is still going. The Giro di Lombardia opened up the Italian weekend in epic proportions. Rain fell all day and hammered down for the final 30 minutes of the race.
Spain’s Joaquím Rodríguez won the war attrition. He climbed the Muro di Sormano second fastest, dodged crashes and soloed towards the finish in Lecco. His timing was perfect. Just as the rain gods let loose, he fired off on the Villa Vergano climb with 10.8 kilometres to race.
A chase group with Hesjedal, Contador, Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Rigoberto Urán (Sky) and last year’s winner, Oliver Zaugg (RadioShack-Nissan) could not get organised to pull back the lone leader. Rodríguez ploughed trough standing water, navigated the corners gingerly and arrived with the official cars headlights illuminating his win.
A rainbow did not follow the storm. Philippe Gilbert’s debut in the rainbow jersey ended on the descent of Sormano, he crashed after BMC team-mate Alessandro Ballan and Luca Paolini (Katusha). Nibali and Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) crashed later on the descent to Onno, on Lake Como’s shore.
“Suddenly, without knowing why, my wheel slipped. I was going about 60kmh and slid about 15 metres,” Gilbert told Belgium’s La Dernière Heur. “The important thing is nothing’s broken. Better now, when my season’s over, than in February or last week.”
On Twitter he posted a bloodied rainbow jersey:
— PHILIPPE GILBERT (@Phil_Gilbert1) September 29, 2012
Happy 70th Gimondi!
Felice Gimondi celebrated his 70th birthday in Bergamo with the start of the Giro di Lombardia. He received medals remembering his victories in the Giro, Milano-Sanremo and Lombardia, and two commemorative jerseys dedicated to 1966 and 1973 Lombardia wins.
“I’ve already enjoyed it all, I don’t need anything else. I wouldn’t ask for a party, which turned into many parties, too many. I’d just be happy for one cake with one candle with my family,” Gimondi told Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport.
He is one of cycling’s legends. He won the Giro d’Italia three times – in 1967, 1969 and 1976 – and the two other Grand Tours, the Vuelta a España in 1968 and the Tour de France as a neo-professional in 1965. Like Gilbert, he won the Worlds, and one-day races Sanremo, Paris-Roubaix and Lombardia.
“The 2012 Tour didn’t do anything for me. Cycling is too scientific now, electronic. Our cycling was instinctive.”
The Lombardia welcomed back the Muro di Sormano after a 50-year absence. The organiser pulled it after a three-year run, 1960-1962, since fans were pushing the riders too much.
The road covers 1920 metres, climbs 304 metres, averages 15.8% and is just wide enough to allow a Fiat Punto to pass. In recent years, the Sormano community closed off the artery road to allow passage for cyclists and pedestrians only, and painted Lombardia’s story on the road.
Romain Bardet (AG2R) topped the climb first this year, 50 years after Livio Trapè in 1962 and Imerio Massignan in 1960 and 1961. Sergio Henao (Sky) set the best time in the chasing group 9-20 minutes, followed by Rodríguez at 9-24. With help, Ercole Baldini posted the best time in 1962: 9-24, Arnaldo Pambianco in 1961: 11-20, and Massignan in 1960: 10-09.
Italy held all the attention over the weekend with the Giro di Lombardia and 2013 Giro d’Italia presentation. Since last year, the presentation strategically paired with Lombardia, coming one day later on Sunday, to gather more attention.
RCS Sport went for a more low-key approach this year. It created a lounge-type environment in Milan’s Spazio Pelota, where on stage Contador, Vincenzo Nibali, Ryder Hesjedal and Mark Cavendish cooked risotto. It proved to be the perfect antipasto for the route’s unveiling.
The 2013 Giro d’Italia races from Naples to Brescia, May 4 to 26. It balances mountains with flats and offers 92.3 kilometres of time trials – enough to make everyone happy.
“There are hard days, but overall it’s not really hard,” Mark Cavendish (Sky) told Cycling Weekly. “There are four days, especially the one day, the day over the Stelvio and Gavia that are going to be hard, but there are five definite sprints and probably two more, so there are seven sprints, which are really good for my chances.”
Possible sprint stages: Naples, Matera, Margherita di Savoia, Treviso, Cherasco, Vicenza and Brescia.
Cavendish pointed out that having a sprint on the last day, the first time since 2007, is incentive for the sprinters to stick around. Mountain men, like Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale), will eye the mountains. The course heads into France to race up the Galibier, covers Gavia and Stelvio on the way to Val Martello and crescendos with Tre Cime di Lavaredo on the penultimate day.
Mountaintop finishes: Serra San Bruno, Altopiano del Montasio, Bardonecchia, Galibier, Polsa, Val Martello and Tre Cime di Lavaredo.
“There are stages that will encourage long attacks,” Nibali said at the presentation. “There are short and long stages, it’s balanced, and the rest days are well positioned. It’s a very interesting course.”
Reigning Giro champ, Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) will like the time trials as he clinched the overall win in the Milan time trial by overtaking Joaquím Rodríguez (Katusha). Besides the 19.4km mountain run, the race features a team version on day two (17.4km) and a long individual test (55.5km) to close the first week.
Hesjedal told VeloNews, “There might be guys that are more specialists in the TT than me, but it comes down to your condition at that time. I’ve shown that when I’m in the right condition that I can definitely hold my own in the TT.”
RCS Sport may have put it in to attract Bradley Wiggins (Sky), who won this year’s Tour de France featuring 101.4km of time trials. Wiggins will race the Giro and the Vuelta a España, according to recent reports, leaving Chris Froome to race the Tour.
“For me I would like to see Brad go out of this sport, not that he won’t as it stands already, but as a legend,” coach Shane Sutton told Cycling Weekly last week. “I think the legendary status could be enhanced by winning the three Grand Tours.”
The Giro last featured such a long time trial in 2009, when the organiser included a 60.6km test largely thought to welcome Lance Armstrong. The race featured its first time trial in 1933, 62 kilometres, won by Alfredo Binda. Fausto Coppi won the race’s longest time trial in 1951, 81 kilometres.
The Tour de France presentation
Organiser ASO sent out invitations to the presentation of the 2013 Tour de France on Monday. On October 24 in Paris, at 11:00 local time, we will know what the 100th edition of the Tour will offer.
According to French newspaper Le Dauphiné Libéré, it will serve up the Mont Ventoux and Alpe d’Huez climbs, cover the latter twice in one day. ASO already announced it will start with three stages in Corsica before travelling to the mainland, with a likely team time trial in Nice.
Hesjedal will race both the Giro and the Tour. Contador will focus on the Tour. Nibali told VeloNews yesterday, “It’s too hard [to do both] the races are too close together.” Buoyed by third place overall in this year’s race, he will likely return to the Tour.
Spain’s Informe Robinson documented David Millar recently in a 30-minute segment Canal+. The narration is in Spanish with most of the interviews in English. It’s worth a watch:
Thunderdome 6 Hour Charity Enduro (Melbourne)
Did you know that every night across Australia there are 36,000 young homeless people roaming our streets in search of food, clothing and safety? These disadvantaged children need rehabilitation, an education and an opportunity to participate in a positive and healthy life.
Contributions from this 6 hour enduro for all ages and abilities will support the Foundation’s charity building project which will provide much needed accommodation for desperate young people who are living on our streets and have nowhere to go.
For more information and to get involved visit www.pifenduro.com.au.