Porte eyes off ochre jersey at Tour Down Under

Richie Porte has his sights set on the ochre jersey when he headlines the Sky Pro Cycling team at the 2014 Santos Tour Down Under.

Tour de France 2013 stage-15

Team Sky’s Richie Porte said:

I want to go to Tour Down Under and perform. As an Aussie it’s the race to win. It used to be a sprinter’s race but now there are some good climbs in there like Corkscrew and Willunga. I’ve spent a bit of time in Adelaide so I know the climbs pretty well. I think if I’m in good form and we have a strong team there – if not me then through Geraint Thomas we also have a really good chance. He was brilliant there last season so it should be an interesting race.

It’s great that there’s interest from an Australian perspective with Cadel [Evans] starting his season there – myself, Simon Gerrans and guys like that. I’ve been in Australia for the last month and you can see how big cycling is getting. People are really taking an interest.

Porte recorded an excellent season in 2013 including his first overall victory at a UCI WorldTour event when he claimed the Yellow Jersey at the Paris-Nice stage race.

The Sky squad for the 2014 Tour Down Under will be as follows: Philip Deignan (Ireland), Bernhard Eisel (Austria), Luke Rowe (Great Britain), Richie Porte (Australia), Ian Stannard (Great Britain), Christopher Sutton (Australia) and Geraint Thomas (Great Britain).

Text adapted from a Tour Down Under press release.

David Millar plans out his final season

David Millar’s long career as a professional cyclist comes to a close in 2014 and the 37-year-old has mapped out the way he’d like to leave the sport.

2013 Giro d'Italia.stage 11.Tarvisio - Vajont: 182km..David Millar (GBR)..

Millar is targeting stage wins at the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana, in addition to a gold medal in the Commonwealth Games road race in Glasgow. Millar is also keen to animate the Spring Classics and lead the Great Britain squad in the road race at next year’s world championships.

It reportedly took Millar most of 2013 to decide to make 2014 his last year as a pro.

“I love what I do. It’s very scary for me to decide to stop doing it when I could keep going,” he says. “It will be like leaving school, but a school I’ve been in for 20 years. That’s all my adult life, although you could arguably say the first 10 years were my adolescence.”

Click here to read more at The Guardian.

Dubai Tour aiming for WorldTour ranking and possible Grand Tour

The first edition of the Dubai Tour hasn’t even been raced yet and already the organisers are talking about the race achieving WorldTour status in the years to come.

The UCI 2.1-ranked event is the third tour to be raced in the Middle East and will be held just before the established 2.HC-ranked races, the Tour of Qatar and the Tour of Oman.

Rashid Al Awadhi of the Dubai Sports Council said that the Dubai Tour will look to collaborate with several of the other Emirates in the United Arab Emirates to eventually turn the Dubai Tour into a Middle Eastern Grand Tour.

“We will be, in the future, a 21-day tour,” Al Awadhi said. “That does not work in one or two years, that takes a lot of years of planning.”

Click here to read more.

Strong winds blow over Tom Simpson memorial on Mont Ventoux

Strong winds on Mont Ventoux have blown over the memorial to Tom Simpson, the first British rider to win the world championships, who tragically died on the slopes of the mountain during the 1967 Tour de France.

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The above photo of the felled monument was posted on the Tom Simpson Appreciation Group page on Facebook with a message from one of Simpsons daughters, Joanne:

Sadly to say, Daddy’s monument on the Ventoux was blown down due to heavy winds. Hope the winter wouldn’t last to long so we can start repairing it. Breaks my heart to see it like this.

Click here to read more at road.cc.

Trek holds out hope of a Schleck comeback in 2014

It seems like a lifetime ago that Andy and Frank Schleck were being talked about as Tour de France contenders but in 2014, if the new Trek Factory Racing team has its way, the Schlecks will be back in the picture.

Liege - Bastogne Liege  2012

“For the Schlecks, and for us, it will be a challenging season,” Trek general manager Luca Guercilena told VeloNews. “It’s been a few years since they were at the top level. We believe they can come back.”

Ever since he crashed in the heavy crosswinds of the 2012 Criterium du Dauphine Andy Schleck has been far from his best while his older brother Frank has spent much of that time on the sidelines following a positive test for Xipamide at the 2012 Tour de France.

Despite the fact Frank hasn’t raced since then, team manager Guercilena believes 2014 will be a good year for the older Schleck.

“I think Frank will have a good season. He’s excited to be back,” Guercilena said. “He wanted to race this season, but for many reasons, he could not, so he will be focused on 2014.”

While Trek has been tight-lipped about the brothers’ race calendars, we do know that Frank will return to racing at the Tour Down Under in January and that the brothers are targeting the Tour de France.

“Andy and Frank have been on the podium, and they did it together in 2011, so the next step for them is to win the Tour,” Guercilena said. “I believe if they are both in the right condition, and stay healthy, they can be in the fight for the Tour. That would be super for us.”

Click here to read more at VeloNews.

Rodriguez to skip the 2014 Tour de France

Joaquim “Purito” Rodriguez looks likely to miss the 2014 Tour de France with Katusha team manager Viatcheslav Ekimov saying the route does not suit the world championship silver medalist.

Fleche Wallone 2012 Elite

“The route in the north of France is the same as Paris-Roubaix and it’s not suitable for him.”

Instead, Purito will aim for the overall classification in the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a Espana.

With Rodriguez to miss Le Tour, this leaves opportunities for other riders on the Katusha squad.

“We will try to win stages and emphasize the green jersey classification [with Alexander Kristoff]. He will get two men to help him in the sprint”, Ekimov said. “And we will have several riders with a free role to go for stage wins.”

Click here to read more at Cycling News.

Riders to watch in 2013: the report card

The Inner Ring might be on holidays but that hasn’t stopped him from publishing some great content. In a two-parter published over the past couple days The Inner Ring revists the predictions he made late last year about the riders to watch in 2013.

Some of those riders are the big names we expected to do well in the biggest races — the likes of Chris Froome, Vincenzo Nibali and so on. And others are the neo-pros, some of which shone (Warren Barguil for instance) and others whom were slightly less visible (such as Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg).

Check out the two articles here and here.

New Omega Pharma-QuickStep kit in action

Here’s a shot of the new Omega Pharma-QuickStep kit in action during what we assume is their team training camp in Spain.

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What do you think of the new kit?

We came across the image on Reddit so we’re not exactly sure of its original source. If you’ve got any info, let us know.

Trek recalls 2013 Madone models

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission has recalled 2013 model Trek Madones after concerns that an attachment bolt on the front brake can come loose, resulting in a sudden loss of braking power.

The models affected by the recall include:

– 2013 Madone 5.2 (standard and WSD)
– 2013 Madone 5.9 (standard)
– 2013 Madone 6.2 (standard and WSD)
– 2013 Madone 6.5 (standard)
– 2013 Madone 7.7 (standard)
– 2013 Madone 7.9 (standard and WSD)

Click here to read more at BikeRadar.

Bicycle tricks from the 1950s

There’s so much to love about this video, from the cheeky voice-over to the carefree backing track through to the tricks 76-year-old Harry Kramer is actually doing. Well worth a watch.

The Rocacorba Recap

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


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Today’s feature image comes from Cor Vos and shows stage 5 of the 2010 Tour of Qatar. What do you make of the idea of a Middle Eastern Grand Tour?