Oram climbs into yellow jersey at the Tour of Southland

James Oram has climbed his way into the yellow jersey in the SBS Bank Tour of Southland, with a stage victory and a powerful climb up the infamous Bluff Hill.

Buoyed by words of wisdom from his Kiwi Velo-Armstrong Prestige team mate, and last year’s Tour winner Mike Northey – who also won the Bluff Hill stage last year – Oram didn’t take today’s stage lead until late in the piece.

“Coming into the base (of Bluff Hill) a few riders tried to get away and we were picking up riders from the breakaway,” he said.

“Sam Lindsay went after about 1km, but there’s still about 4minutes of climbing to go so I just let him stay there. Mike told me last year the same thing happened to him and he just kicked on the final steep part and pulled the gap back, so I just trusted in his words, hit the final steep part and came away with the win.”

Oram finished the stage – a 140km course from Invercargill through Central Southland and back to finish with a brutal 2km climb up Bluff Hill – 5 seconds ahead of Liam Aitcheson (H&Js Outdoor World Avanti Plus) and Joe Cooper (Huon Salmon Genesys Wealth Advisors) to go 11 seconds up on Aitcheson and Cooper in the general classification.

Northey and Gough were part of a breakaway group of riders on today’s stage that created a 3 minute lead, which the group held until the bottom of Bluff Hill. Tom Scully (Ascot Park Hotel Kia Southland) also featured prominently in the group, picking up plenty of the sprint points on offer to earn the Harcourts Sprint Ace jersey on his home Tour.

“I knew if I could get into the break today – and that was a goal of the team – I could chase the (sprint) points, it was a case of going out there and taking one after the other. There wasn’t too much fight for it, so I was pretty happy to be out there doing it,” Scully said.

Oram, now wearing yellow, will hand over the Henderson Construction Ltd U23 jersey to Aitcheson, while Grayson Napier (Creation Signs L&M Group Racing) will retain the Jesco Hydraulics King of the Mountain jersey. Australian-based team Huon Salmon Genesys Wealth Advisors is leading the Wensley’s Cycles team classification.

Alex McGregor (Radio Sport) picked up The Southland Times most combative award, for his aggressive riding in the break.

Before the Tour makes its way to Coronet, riders will face tomorrow’s stage 3 – a 148km stage from Riverton to Te Anau.

STAGE 2 RESULTS
1 3 ORAM, James U23 KVA 3h15’51″
2 85 AITCHESON, Liam U23 OWA @ 05″
3 51 COOPER, Joseph HGW @ 05″
4 103 LINDSAY, Sam BSB @ 12″
5 46 HUISMAN, Robert U23 SSI @ 21″

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION
1 3 ORAM, James U23 KVA 7h34’05″
2 85 AITCHESON, Liam U23 OWA @ 11″
3 51 COOPER, Joseph HGW @ 11″
4 103 LINDSAY, Sam BSB @ 37″
5 46 HUISMAN, Robert U23 SSI @ 38″

For full results of stage 2, please click here. Text via Tour of Southland press release.

UCI confirms initial ProTeam and ProConti registrations for 2014

The UCI has confirmed the names of the first teams to have been granted ProTeam license in 2014, with nine teams listed so far while the other ten applicants will need to wait:

ProTeams (first division)

• AG2R LA MONDIALE (FRA)
• BELKIN-PRO CYCLING TEAM (NED)
• BMC RACING TEAM (USA)
• CANNONDALE (ITA)
• FDJ.fr (FRA)
• GARMIN SHARP (USA)
• OMEGA PHARMA – QUICK STEP RACING TEAM (BEL)
• TEAM KATUSHA (RUS) (Ed: a switch from 2013 where Katusha was initially denied their license)
• TEAM SAXO BANK (DEN)

Of the remaining ten ProTeams, Euskaltel-Euskadi and Vacansoleil-DCM are both folding. Europcar is the only Pro-Continental team applying to step up to the World Tour level.

UCI Professional Continental Teams (2nd division)

• ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI (ITA)
• BARDIANI – CSF (ITA)
• CAJA RURAL – SEGUROS RGA (ESP)
• CCC POLSAT POLKOWICE (POL)
• COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS (FRA)
• COLOMBIA (COL)
• DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING (AUS)
• IAM CYCLING (SUI)
• MTN – QHUBEKA (RSA)
• RUSVELO (RUS)
• TEAM NETAPP – ENDURA (GER)
• TEAM NOVO NORDISK (USA)
• TOPSPORT VLAANDEREN – BALOISE (BEL)
• UNITEDHEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM (USA)
• WANTY – GROUPE GOBERT (BEL)
• YELLOW FLUO (ITA)

Mark Cavendish: My position as cycling’s greatest sprinter is under threat

Until the 2013 Tour de France, Mark Cavendish was regarded as the fastest sprinter in the world. He relinquished that title to Marcel Kittel after he clocked up four stage wins at the Tour where Cavendish was also beaten by the other headline sprinters. In an interview with the Telegraph, Cavendish has stated that he now needs to work harder than ever in order to get back on top.

“ I’ve really learnt to control anger, it’s a waste of energy. But when I’ve got a point to prove, that will still be the case. I’ve been relatively unchallenged until now, and now people are challenging my position as the most dominant sprinter in the world.”

Have a read of the full article in the Telegraph where Mark Cavendish reveals the precision that goes into his race preparation and final sprint.

ORICA-GreenEDGE shows support for Pieter Weening

ORICA-GreenEDGE has released a statement about Michael Rasmussen’s allegations against Pieter Weeneing:

“Orica-GreenEDGE is aware that Pieter Weening has made himself fully available to the Dutch NADO for their ongoing, comprehensive investigations into doping of Dutch cyclists. The team has received documentation that based on information the Dutch NADO have – including in relation to Michael Rasmussen’s allegations of 2007- they have not opened any doping inquiry against Pieter Weening and do not posses any sort of evidence or testimony to do so. Pieter Weening has been fully collaborative in relation to this and ORICA-GreenEDGE would like to express its full support in him going onwards.”

Pieter Weening shown in Rabobank colors in the pink jersey at the 2011 Giro d’Italia (not at the time where Rasmussen’s alligations were stated).

Rasmussen had stated that all members of Rabobank’s 2007 Tour de France team had used doping products in his recent book. “Within the Rabobank team: 100% [used doping products]. Not everyone took the same products, but all riders were on some form of doping provided by the team,”

Rasmussen has since retracted that statement against Spaniards Oscar Freire and Juan Antonio Flecha due to legal action threatened by Freire.

The history of Cyclo-cross

There are many stories about the origins of cyclo-cross. One is that European road racers in the early 1900s would race each other to the next town over from them and that they were allowed to cut through farmer’s fields, over fences or take any other shortcuts in order to make it to the next town first. This was sometimes called steeple chase as the only visible landmark in the next town was often the steeple. This was a way for them to stay in shape during the winter months and put a twist on road racing. Forced running sections, or portage, were incorporated to help deliver warm blood to the feet and toes, as well as exercise other groups of muscles. Daniel Gousseau of France is credited as having inspired the first cyclo-cross races and organized the first French National Championship in 1902.

Geoff Proctor, cyclo-cross coach (at USA Cycling and World Cycling Centre), speaks about the history of the discipline.

For Sale: Buy the Lotto Belisol bus

In an unusual team press release, Lotto Belisol has sent out the following message for those of you interested in buying their team bus or camper. Nothing says rockstar like showing up to the Sunday morning crits in the Lotto Belisol bus.

Sander Cordeel & Maarten Neyens getting onto the bus to Compie gne


During this midseason Lotto Belisol sells one of its buses and the Lotto Belisol camper. A few months ago the team could start using a new bus thanks to partner G&V Energy Group, that’s why one of the other buses is for sale. The team will sell its camper as well.
If you are interested you may contact [email protected]