Saxo-Tinkoff becomes Tinkoff-Saxo

Team Saxo Tinkoff will become Team Tinkoff Saxo next season after the team confirmed at a press conference last night that Russian entrepreneur Oleg Tinkoff had taken the reins.

Tinkoff

Tinkoff reportedly paid US$9 million to buy the team from Bjarne Riis and has pledged further cash to develop and strengthen the team in coming years.

“We could buy, and we will buy, more riders, stronger riders, more stars if you wish,” Tinkoff said at the news conference before reiterating that the team for next season had already been settled.

The 2014 squad will be built around Alberto Contador, despite he and Tinkoff falling out during the Tour de France this year and Tinkoff publishing tweets that were critical of Contador.

Tinkoff will be the team’s main sponsor for the next three years with Saxo Bank remaining the second sponsor next year. Bjarne Riis has signed on for three years as team manager.

Click here to watch the press conference in which Tinkoff’s takeover was announced. Click here to read more via Reuters and Cycling Central.

Tinkoff takes over, but who is he?

If you’d like to learn more about Oleg Tinkoff, who he is, how he made his fortune and what his involvement at Tinkoff-Saxo will look like, check out this article from The Inner Ring. Here’s a snippet:

“A bike race and some jeans gave Tinkov his first break as an entrepreneur. He’s no oligarch cruising the Zil lanes of Kremlin power but a self-made man, a fact he’s always keen to remind you about. The ability to shock is part of his game so don’t expect modesty as he runs his team. The squad won’t want for advice in 2014.”

A list of contract-free riders for 2014

Here at CyclingTips we’re big fans of the work being done over at ProCyclingStats and this list is just another example of why we love it so much. The guys have put together a comprehensive list of all the riders without pro contracts for next season. And when we say comprehensive, we mean comprehensive — there are several hundred riders on the list.

Some of the names near the top of the list include: Chris Horner, Sammy Sanchez, Igor Anton, Ian Stannard, Luis Leon Sanchez and Rico Rogers.

Click here to check out the list.

Yellow Fluo (formerly Vini Fantini) fully intends to race 2014 Giro

There were reports last week that the Yellow Fluo team (formerly Vini Fantini) had missed out on a wildcard for next year’s Giro d’Italia but the team has confirmed that it fully intends on applying for an invite and will do so before the cutoff.

blinding the crowd

Yellow Fluo team spokesman Francesco Pelosi told VeloNation:

“It is simple – all the teams have to complete the dossier and send to RCS. We have time to do this, we have another twenty days. We will do everything at once then, the candidature for all the races. Waiting for the last week is better for us.”

The team also confirmed that news about its new sponsor is coming soon. The team lost its main sponsors this year after Mauro Santambrogio and Danilo Di Luca tested positive for performance enhancing drugs before and during this year’s Giro d’Italia.

Click here to read more at VeloNation.

Could the ‘new cycling’ produce winners of multiple Grand Tours?

Here’s an interesting read over at VeloNews in which Andrew Hood asks whether this new, cleaner era of cycling will make it possible for riders to win multiple Grand Tours.

Giro d'Italia 2013 - Tappa 10, Cordenons-Altopiano del Montasio

His reasoning is that Vincenzo Nibali is the only rider to have won more than one Grand Tour in this cleaner era of the sport.

Of course, it’s very difficult to define when the sport started becoming cleaner, but Hood suggests Alberto Contador’s 2010 Tour de France positive test for clenbuterol. Hood explains:

“While it’s inherently unfair to claim that riders before 2010 didn’t race or win clean, and equally naive to suggest that all of today’s riders are racing on bread and water, 2010 does serve as an interesting watershed for the sport.

Since Contador’s 2010 clenbuterol case, the performances are undeniably more believable. While some of today’s veteran stars still have some issues about their collective pasts, the performances over the past three seasons have been relatively scandal-free.”

It’s an interesting and worthwhile read. Check it out at VeloNews here.

Cobo considers step back to Continental level

After spending two years with Movistar Juan Jose Cobo, winner of the 2011 Vuelta a Espana, finds himself without a pro contract for 2014.

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“I have to be realistic. It was my own fault. I didn’t live up to the expectations and therefore understand the decision Movistar made,” Cobo told El Diario Montañes.

Since winning the Vuelta two years ago Cobo’s best individual performances have been a 10th place in the national time trial championships in 2012, and 11th on stage 11 of this year’s Giro.

But Cobo isn’t ready to retire yet and is reportedly considering a step down to Continental level.

“I still feel fine physically. I train about 4 or 5 times a week and I’m now building up towards training every day. I am calm. I love to ride my bike and that is important. Maybe I should take a step back,” Cobo said.

“I still have no team but we are talking with a small team to ride for next year in order to come back to a bigger team the year after.”

Click here to read more at CyclingNews.

Bouet to lead AG2r at the Tour Down Under

AG2R La Mondiale has announced its line-up for next year’s Tour Down Under with Maxime Bouet to lead the squad and aim for a top 10 result overall.

Maxime Bouet

“We will also focus on stage wins”, sports director Laurent Biondi said. “Maxime Daniel and Sebastien Turgot will be our trump cards in sprint finishes.”

Bouet has never raced at the Tour Down Under but race organiser Mike Turtur believes the Frenchman can play a role.

“Maxime Bouet is an all-rounder and he’s particularly good on rolling terrain with short, sharp climbs. His 2013 season included a third place overall in the Giro del Trentino, tenth in the Tour of Oman and seventh in the Critérium International.”

“The varied terrain across the 2014 Santos Tour Down Under route will appeal to Bouet and the Ag2r lineup and I’m sure we’ll see dynamic performances from this experienced group of riders.”

The Ag2r La Mondiale squad for the 2014 Santos Tour Down Under is as follows: Julien Berard, Guillaume Bonnafond, Maxime Bouet, Maxime Daniel, Axel Domont, Damien Gaudin and Sébastien Turgot.

Click here to read more at Cycling News.

Brad Wiggins apologises after sex-act joke at children’s charity function

Representatives for Sir Bradley Wiggins have apologised after Sir Brad made a crude joke about a sex act while at a charity dinner for child abuse victims.

Tour de France  2012 stage - 12

The event’s auctioneer reportedly caught Wiggins off guard when he approached the Tour de France winner’s. Wiggins’ face then appeared on the big screen at the function as he told the host “You’ve got a posh voice. I like posh voices. S*** me off.”

According to guests at the function the alcohol was flowing “extremely freely” but Wiggins wasn’t drunk.

Business director David Parkin said afterwards: “Initially there was just stunned silence. It was bizarre and shocking. The chap sitting next to me said: ‘Before tonight he was my hero, but not anymore’.”

Click here to read more at The Independent.

Budget Forklifts announces its roster for 2014

Local NRS team Budget Forklifts has revealed its full squad for the 2014 season which includes a handful of new names, including: Westley Gough (NZ national team), Brodie Talbot (3rd at Tour of Tasmania this year), Myron Simpson (track cyclist and former Tour of the Murray stage winner), Dan Barry (New Zealand rider from Node 4 Giordana UK team) and Tommy Nankervis (former Oceania road champion).

The full Budget Forklifts roster for 2014 is: Jesse Kerrison, Alex Wohler, Myron Simpson, Westley Gough, Blair Windsor, Daniel Barry, Sam Horgan, Sam Witmitz, Tommy Nankervis, Michael Vink, Brodie Talbot, Michael Cupitt, Marc Williams, Kristian Juel, Karl Evans, Joshua, Prete and Peter Loft.

Tour of Bright highlights

The Tour of Bright was held over the weekend and the team at The Tribe Cycling have put together this highlights video.

Full results from all grades can be found here. Click here to learn about the history of the race, and click here for Wade’s thoughts about the depth that now exists in the masters grades.

The Rocacorba Recap

And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed:


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