Jack Haig commits to the road, will skip Commonwealth Games MTB race

It’s been one of the most-discussed questions in Australian domestic cycling in the past year or so: how will Bendigo’s Jack Haig choose to focus his energy in future? Will he stick to his native discipline of MTB, or will he pursue road cycling, where he’ll almost certainly get greater opportunities?

Haig has now revealed that he will forego plans to ride MTB at this year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, suggesting it’s too hard to balance his commitment to both disciplines.

Haig won the individual standings in last year’s National Road Series, including a win at the Tour of Tasmania, and his victories in the best young rider classification at this year’s Tour Down Under and Herald Sun Tour show the Victorian is well on his way.

But Haig hasn’t totally given up on MTB racing.

“I’d still like to do some of the Marathon races if they don’t clash with any of the road commitments. There’s the Golden Triangle MTB Race. I’d like to do that,” Haig told Cycling Central. “But I won’t be going to the Oceanias, and that in turn means I won’t be going to do the Commonwealth Games.”

Haig has high hopes of joining the WorldTour in 2015 and looks set to move to Europe in June this year, but the plans are yet to be finalised.

“Whether that’s with the under 23 Australian team (WorldTour Academy) or with another team, well we’ll make that decision soon,” said Haig.

“I could go over and do a couple of training camps, maybe do a stagiaire thing with a WorldTour team, or race more with the under 23 team and try and win a race like L’Avenir and do Road Worlds.”

Haig has reportedly been in talks with several WorldTour teams in recent months.

Click here to read more at Cycling Central.

ASO plays down RCS Sport buy-out rumours

The cycling world loves a good rumour, and this one is certainly juicy. VeloNews is reporting that ASO, the owner of the Tour de France, the Vuelta a Espana and other races besides, is considering buying RCS Sport, owner of the Giro d’Italia.

Giro d'Italia 2013

Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme has laughed off the rumour, as has the new RCS Sport general manager Paolo Bellini. But VeloNews cites unnamed sources that suggest “ASO has inquired about the Italian cycling properties.”

There’s no way of telling at this stage whether there’s any substance to the rumours at all, but as VeloNews suggests, if the ASO were to buy out RCS Sport there would be significant consequences:

French-owned ASO is already the largest and most powerful player internationally in producing bicycle races, and currently owns or operates 19 races worldwide under its umbrella of cycling properties.

A takeover by ASO, which bought a controlling interest in the Vuelta a España in 2008, of RCS Sport’s Italian cycling properties would give the French company a near-monopoly on the most important and lucrative dates on the European racing schedule.

Click here to read more at VeloNews.

Subaru National Road Series calendar for 2014

The Subaru National Road Series (NRS) will this year showcase 19 events including a new women’s event as well as the return of Australia’s marquee domestic events the Tour of Tasmania and the nations longest one-day race, the Melbourne to Warrnambool.

JXP01441

This year 11 men’s events and eight women’s events will make up the series, which encompasses every state and territory in Australia bar the Northern Territory.

2013’s debut events will all return to the calendar including the men’s Tour de Perth (WA), the women’s Tour of the King Valley (VIC) and duel events the Adelaide Tour (SA) and the National Capital Tour (ACT).

Feature men’s events such as the Tour of Tasmania (TAS), Tour of the Great South Coast (VIC), and the iconic one day races, the Melbourne to Warrnambool (VIC) and the Grafton to Inverell (NSW), will all shape the calendar for the coming year.

For the first time, the Amy Gillett Foundation (AGF) will host an NRS event with Amy’s Otway Classic set to give the elite women’s domestic scene a boost.

Schedule:

Men

– Tour De Perth 26-29 March
– Adelaide Tour 3-6 April
– Battle on the Border: 15-18 May
– Tour of Toowoomba: 22-25 May
– Tour of the Murray River: 30 Jul – 3 Aug
– Tour of the Great South Coast: 13-17 August
– Tour of Gippsland: 3-7 September
– National Capital Tour: 19-21 September
– Tour of Tasmania: 28 Sept – 5 October
– Melbourne to Warrnambool: 11 October
– Grafton to Inverell: 25 October

Women

– Adelaide Tour 3-6 April
– Mersey Valley Tour: 2-4 May
– Battle on the Border: 15-18 May
– Tour of the Murray River: 1-3 August
– Tour of the King Valley: 22-24 August
– Amy’s Otway Classic: 14 September
– National Capital Tour: 19-21 September
– Tour of the Goldfields: 17-19 October

Text via Cycling Australia press release. Click here to read more at the Subaru National Road Series website.

Antoine Vayer on Chris Froome’s Tour of Oman climbing efforts

It’s been a while since we heard anything from Antoine Vayer, the guy who wrote that magazine last year that classified riders performances as “miraculous” or “mutant” based on their climb times and other data. Now, the former Festina trainer has made his feelings known about Chris Froome’s race-winning climb on Green Mountain in the Tour of Oman last week.


VeloNews spoke to Vayer about Froome’s performance. Here’s an excerpt:


VN: Sky and Froome have been quite open, but that’s not enough for you?

AV: I would like to be convinced that Froome is exceptional. For me, what he does is unbelievable. He has not given proof, except saying that, “I train well, blah, blah, blah.” That is not enough.

VN: What would convince you? Have you ever tried to get more evidence directly from Sky to convince you?

AV: As a matter of fact, I met with Dave Brailsford and Tim Kerrison [Sky’s general manager and top coach] after the time trial in Saint Malo last year, when Froome was second. I was very surprised that they met with me. We spoke for nearly two hours that evening after the race. All they did was speak, and for them to say to me that he was exceptional was not enough. I said, “I have nothing against you, but can you give me physical evidence?” They said, “No, we are the best, we train the best,” and that was it. For me, it was not enough.

Click here to read more at VeloNews.

Roma Maxima and Strade Bianche under threat from landslides

Following news that the route for Milan-San Remo might have to be altered due to landslides in the area, it would appear that the roads used in Strade Bianche and Roma Maxima are also under threat.

Strade_Bianche_landscape

A landslide in Castelnuovo Beradenga will likely force organisers to change the route for Strade Bianche and a similar incident has damaged roads that Roma Maxima is set to traverse.

A decision on these two races, and the much-discussed potential removal of the new Pompieana climb from Milan-San Remo, will reportedly be decided on tonight.

Click here to read more at Cycling News.

2014 Tour de France opening stages in photos

It’s fair to say that our friends over in the UK are a little excited about the Tour de France starting in their neck of the woods this year. The folks over at Cycling Weekly have put together a photo gallery for each of the first two stages, showing where the race will go.

The scenery looks quite amazing, but you’d like to hope that there will be slightly less snow around come July 5 when the race departs Leeds and heads to Harrogate.

Check out the photos of stage 1 here and stage 2 here. One would expect that a similar gallery for stage 3 will be on the Cycling Weekly website in the coming days.

Ben King on the 2015 World Championships road race course

Garmin-Sharp’s Ben King lives just an hour from Richmond, Virginia, the city that will host next year’s road world championships. In this short video interview with Cycling News, King gives his perspective on what the race will be like and how Team USA might approach it.

Click here to read more at Cycling News.

More sports that could get cycling into the Winter Olympics

A couple weeks back we shared a video showing a bunch of Canadian guys playing “Bike Hockey”, their admittedly lighthearted attempt to get a cycling event into the Winter Olympics. Here now, thanks to road.cc, is another entertaining ice-related cycling video that makes us want to find a frozen lake and get drifting:

Click here to read and watch more at road.cc.

“The Trams are Coming” – Edinburgh cyclist safety video

After nearly seven years of construction and plenty of setbacks the city of Edinburgh just about has a tramway. The Edinburgh Council has released a cute video showing cyclists how to negotiate tram tracks:

For Melbournians the video might be a little simplistic (and the recommendations a little obvious) but it’s interesting to see how a city deals with changes to the transport network and how those changes affect other users of the network.

For most of us that have grown up in cities with trams, there was no instructional video to help show how to stay safe around trams — it’s a case of common sense, hearing horror stories from your cycling mates and, more than likely, coming unstuck on the tram tracks yourself.

Interview with Stuart O’Grady

On the eve of his book launch, Stuart O’Grady took the time to sit down with CyclingTips last night to talk about his long and illustrious career and his doping admission in July 2013. Click here to see the video interview.

The Rocacorba Recap

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


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Today’s feature image comes from Cor Vos and was shot during the 2013 edition of Strade Bianche.