Baden Cooke announces retirement

Baden Cooke has announced that he will retire at the end of 2013, ending a 14-year career as one of Australia’s most decorated cyclists.

The 35 year old, six time Tour de France rider and 2003 Green Jersey winner, is in the process of setting up a sports management company from his base in Monaco, and is excited about the opportunities that lie ahead, given the abundance of Australian talent in the professional peloton.

Cooke, a winner of more than 50 professional races, having ridden on some of the world biggest teams including Francaise des Jeux and Saxo Bank, is proud to have finished off his career off at Australia’s first World Tour team.

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“After 14 years racing at the highest level, I am moving on. Having the honour of finishing my career with Australia’s first own World Tour team has been a dream. Racing surrounded by my best mates has been a phenomenal experience. I am very proud of my career and am ready for my next adventure. I feel blessed having had the life and career that I always dreamed of having since I was a little boy starting out at Benalla Cycling club with a BMX and a stack hat.”

The Commonwealth bronze medallist and 2004 Olympian will ride a farewell criterium in his hometown of Melbourne as part of the Logie-Smith Lanyon SKCC Super Criterium on Sunday December 15, surrounded by his OGE team mates Matt Goss, Simon Gerrans, Michael Matthews, Brett Lancaster and Peter Weening. Cooke’s past teammates and friends from the Australian cycling community will also attend including Brad McGee, Matt White, Henk Vogels and Matthew Wilson.

Looking back on his illustrious career, the Jayco Herald Sun Tour winner sights his Green jersey and stage win at the 2003 Tour de France as two of his career highlights, along with his wins at GP Fourmies and Dwars Door Vlaanderen.

“All I ever wanted in life was to race bikes professionally. I never thought I would have so much success and win the races that I did. I am retiring from racing at a professional level but I will continue to train and don’t be surprised to see me pop up at a local race.”

text via media release

Cookson rejects proposal for breakaway league

Cookson told Bloomberg that efforts to create a breakaway cycling league beyond the existing calendar, with lucrative TV rights being shared with teams, does not come at a good moment for the sport, which has been damaged by the fallout from the Lance Armstrong scandal and allegations of corruption at the UCI.

“Imposing a new league isn’t the right way forward,” Cookson told Bloomberg. “The heritage of cycling is very important. You could have, say, a race from Paris to Lyon, but it wouldn’t be as exciting as Paris-Roubaix.”

Bloomberg reported that officials from British Sky Broadcasting Group met with representatives from a dozen teams last February in Geneva, Switzerland, to explore possibilities of a series of ten races on four continents. Omega Pharma-Quick Step owner and Czech billionaire Zdenek Bakala was also on board.

Plans were to share TV revenue among the participating teams. Under cycling’s existing business model, TV rights are kept in the hands of race organizers, while teams must rely on sponsorship to operate.

“We have to find ways of giving the teams a more sustainable economic situation, otherwise we’ll go into a spiral decline,” Cookson said.

read more on Bloomberg

If you’re wondering what a breakaway league might look like, we wrote an article on it a while back.

Tour of Turkey organisers await final outcome of Sayar doping case

Mustafa Sayar won the 2013 Presidential Tour of Turkey last April but to later tested positive for EPO. However, Sayar is still the official winner of the race until the UCI officially says otherwise. His name has been taken off the race website and race organisers say it’s only a matter of time before his positive is confirmed. Once that is done, prizemoney will be distributed and the race can move on.

Mustafa Sayar

Contacted by VeloNation, the UCI said that the situation is still to reach a conclusion. “Mustafa Sayar is currently provisionally suspended which means that until the closure of the procedure, both rankings and results of the Tour of Turkey are upheld,” UCI spokesman Louis Chenaille stated.

Read more on Velonation

Jayco Herald Sun Tour announces 2014 route

Traditionally the Jayco Herald Sun Tour had been held in October as one of the final races of the season, but that all changed last in 2013 when it was moved to a new January timeslot. Yesterday, the race was announced to have moved again to February 5-9 over five stages within close proximity to Melbourne in an exciting and spectator friendly course.

The 2014 Jayco Herald Sun Tour goes from February 5-9 over five stages

The 2014 Jayco Herald Sun Tour goes from February 5-9 over five stages

Prologue: Starting with a Prologue course through the Heart of Melbourne, the ITT course is only 2.5 kilometres but starts at Federation Square and makes it’s way to the finish at Southbank on the Wednesday evening.

Stage 1: Moving down to Geelong, the Tour starts from along the Geelong Waterfront. Stage 1 offers a few surprises to the peloton with a tough, steep KOM and a undulating run into the heart of Ballarat (for those of you who know the steep Hell of the West climb, that’s been thrown in to make things interesting).

Stage 2: The longest stage of the Tour rolls out of Ballarat and through Daylesford and Hepburn Springs. Continuing North, the historic goldfields around Castlemaine such as Fryerstown, Chewton pass by before the challenging ascent of Mount Alexander. With plenty of distance still left in the stage, riders will be desperate to stay in touch with the leaders before a fast and furious finale in the Heart of Bendigo.

Stage 3: Stage 3 takes in the rugged beauty of the Strathbogie ranges, stretching from Mitchelton Winery through to Avenel, Seymour, Highlands and towards Yea. Turning back towards Mitchelton, the stage continues along rolling hills towards Seymour. A flat run in towards Nagambie is sure to lead to an exciting bunch sprint through the centre of Nagambie.

Stage 4 – For the third year Arthurs Seat is featured as the Queen stage. With three ascents in the 120km final stage held at twilight, it’s sure to be an electric atmosphere. Amy’s Ride Victoria will also be held in conjunction with the final stage of the Tour.

Click here for Jayco Herald Sun Tour website to find out more details.

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