Latest News in Cycling
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the December 2014 issue of Velo magazine, the annual awards issue.
If his career had simply come to a quiet end after his 2009 World Cup series victory, Julien Absalon would still have been lauded as arguably the greatest cross-country racer in history. However, the French champion wasn’t done then. Not by a long shot.
From 2010 through 2013, he struggled with results that were, for him, sub-par. His DNF at the London Olympic Games may have been the nadir, as younger riders began to eclipse the five-time World Cup winner.
However, in 2014, he came storming back. The 34-year-old made his intentions clear, winning the first two World Cup rounds in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, and Cairns, Australia. Though he ceded four of the seven rounds to Swiss rival Nino Schurter, Absalon was consistently on the podium in all but one of the World Cups.
Naturally, he rode the entire season in the red, white, and blue jersey as French national champion, a title he’s held non-stop since 2003. Plus, he claimed the European championships in June at St. Wendel, Germany.
But as is the case with any elite mountain biker, Abaslon’s season would hinge on his performance at the world championships. Sure enough, aboard a BMC full-suspension race bike — something entirely different for a rider who has preferred hardtails with little exception — he bested Schurter in Norway. More than anything, Absalon’s margin of victory was convincing. He won by nearly two minutes, a country mile in XC, a discipline that has offered increasingly tight competition with shorter, faster courses.
Absalon’s fifth world title sent a clear message. After a seven-year rainbow jersey drought, the flying Frenchman was back. And he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
In recent years, it was difficult to talk about British downhillers without using the name, “Atherton.” Rachel Atherton is a two-time British national champion as well as a world champion, and brother Gee is twice world champ. However, fans of mountain biking’s most precise and technical discipline have been learning a new name. With eight major UCI wins to her credit, it’s no wonder that Wales’ Manon Carpenter has assumed the mantel as the queen of downhill.
A mere 21 years old, the Madison Saracen rider won three World Cup stops on three different continents — Leogang in Austria, Mont Sainte Anne in Canada, and Pietermaritzburg in South Africa — showcasing her versatility and precocious professionalism.
Beyond her wins, she was never outside of the top-five at World Cups. Plus, she notched an especially impressive second place at Cairns, Australia, where the jungle track was impossibly slippery and muddy.
Though her second-place finish at the British downhill national championship was likely a disappointment (naturally, she was beaten by Rachel Atherton), Carpenter came through when the chips were down at the world championships. Hafjell, Norway offered up a rough, raw track, much to the delight of the world’s fastest downhillers. Carpenter again was pitted against countrywoman Atherton and prevailed by a slim eight hundredths of a second.
In a sport where success hinges on attention to detail and mental toughness — all while careening down the world’s most difficult trails — Carpenter showed class that belies her young age. Though it may be too soon to predict her future as the next dominator in downhill, it’s likely that we’ll look back on 2014 as a harbinger of the Carpenter era.
The post International Mountain Bikers of the Year: Absalon and Carpenter appeared first on VeloNews.com.
The Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC), which represents 78 percent of UCI WorldTour and Pro Continental teams, issued a statement Thursday that summarized the standing of seven teams. Six of the listed teams will face voluntary suspension, according to MPCC rules, if one or more of their respective riders fail an anti-doping test.
Androni Giocattoli will have to suspend itself for a week if one of its riders violates anti-doping rules before May 30, 2015.
Astana WorldTour will have to suspend itself for four weeks if one of its riders violates anti-doping rules before August 1, 2016.
Colombia will have to suspend itself for one week if one if its riders violates anti-doping rules before January 22, 2015.
Lampre-Merida will have to suspend itself for one week if one of its riders violates anti-doping rules before May 21, 2015.
RusVelo will have to suspend itself for four weeks if one of its riders violates anti-doping rules before March 17, 2015.
Neri Sottoli will have to suspend itself for one week if one of its riders violates anti doping rules before August 7, 2015. This team is suspended from MPCC until the next annual general meeting, planned on October 2015.
Additionally, MPCC noted that Astana Continental, currently suspended by Kazakhstan’s federation, will have to suspend itself for five weeks if it elects to return to competition.
The MPCC self-suspension process is contingent upon the result of a B sample analysis, or an admission of guilt by the rider.
Riders and teams must also comply with WADA and UCI rules, which are binding, but the MPCC relies on teams’ voluntary participation when it comes to sanctions and suspensions.
Member teams also agree that, “in case of an ongoing disciplinary prosecution, a rider will be evicted immediately from a race, in order to prevent cycling’s image and credibility to be jeopardized.”
Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, will host a public meeting Friday, November 19, 2014 in Napa to discuss permanent protection for the Berryessa Snow Mountain region. The meeting will run from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Napa Valley College Performing Arts Center, 2277 Napa-Vallejo Highway, Building 100. Thompson will be joined by Sally Jewell, U.S. secretary of the interior; Robert Bonnie, undersecretary for natural resources and environment with the U.S.
SYDNEY (AFP) — Spain’s Movistar team will return to Australia’s Tour Down Under in January with an experienced squad, organizers said on Thursday.
Among their lineup is sprinter Juanjo Lobato, whose 2014 victories included the Tour de Wallonie and the Vuelta a Burgos, plus a fourth-place finish in Milano-Sanremo.
The Tour Down Under is the first UCI WorldTour event of 2015 and will run from January 17-25 in and around Adelaide.
“Movistar is celebrating its second consecutive year as the top-ranked team in the world, with 34 victories in 2014,” race director Mike Turtur said.
The team, which is Spain’s only WorldTour outfit, will be led by the veteran Pablo Lastras, 38, who is heading into his 18th season as a professional. On the other side of the spectrum, Spain’s Ruben Fernandez, 23, the winner of the 2013 Tour de l’Avenir, is a new face on the Movistar team roster in 2015.
The only non-Spanish rider set to represent Movistar in Australia is Italy’s Eros Capecchi, a Giro d’Italia stage winner.
Movistar Tour Down Under roster
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announced that Italian rider Mauro Santambrogio returned an adverse analytical finding for testosterone in a sample collected in an out-of-competition anti-doping test performed on October 22, 2014.
Santambrogio, 30, was suspended by the UCI after testing positive for EPO during the 2013 Giro d’Italia, where he went on to finish ninth and win stage 14. Those results were subsequently disqualified; Santambrogio was fired by Vini Fantini (now known as Neri Sottoli or Yellow Fluo), and he was suspended by the UCI for 18 months — a term that had just ended at the beginning of November.
The Italian is not currently employed by a team, and may face a lifetime ban with this second doping violation, if a B sample confirms the result.
In accordance with UCI anti-doping rules, Santambrogio has been provisionally suspended until the adjudication of the affair.
The post Mauro Santambrogio tests positive for testosterone appeared first on VeloNews.com.
CAMAIORE, Italy — Tirreno-Adriatico celebrates its 50th running in 2015, and organizers announced the race route on Thursday. The seven-day stage race will be held March 11-17.
In announcing the route for its silver anniversary, Tirreno-Adriatico remembered past champions of the race, including: Dino Zandegù, the first winner in 1966, Roger De Vlaeminck (six-time consecutive winner), Francesco Moser, Tony Rominger, Maurizio Fondriest, Abraham Olano, Paolo Bettini, Oscar Freire, Fabian Cancellara, Michele Scarponi, Cadel Evans, and more recently, Vincenzo Nibali (2012 and 2013), and reigning champion Alberto Contador.
“Tirreno-Adriatico is one of the races that made the history of this sport and that will keep on making it,” said RCS Sport’s head of cycling, Mauro Vegni. “This is shown by the repeated participation of the best riders in the world and continuous interest of big brands in sponsoring the event; every year more and more councils ask us about being part of the course too.”
The 2015 race is expected to draw Nibali (Astana), Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), and Chris Froome (Sky) out for a pre-Tour de France test, along with Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), winner of the 2014 WorldTour.
2015 race route
Tirenno-Adriatico will start from Camaiore’s renowned Lido, in the Italian Versilia region, with a 22.7km team time trial.
Stage 2 will also start in Camaiore and finish in Cascina, covering 153 kilometers of mostly flat terrain.
Cascina will be the start of stage 3 and will finish in Arezzo, after 203 kilometers, on the same climb that saw Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) beat Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-Quick Step) last year.
Saturday’s stage 4 will be deceptively challenging, held predominantly between the Umbrian and Le Marche regions. The stage will start in Indicatore (Arezzo) and includes four king of the mountain climbs: Foce dello Scopetone, Poggio San Romualdo, Monte San Vicino, and Crispiero, which comes just before the short descent to Castelraimondo, where the race finishes after 218km.
The 194-kilometer queen stage will be held on Sunday, starting from Esanatoglia and finishing on the 5,495-foot Monte Terminillo climb, with two KOMs along the way (Passo Sallegri and Le Arette).
“This is a really compelling course, and the stage ending at the top of Monte Terminillo is perfect for Contador,” said Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff-Saxo).
The penultimate stage is ideal for sprinters, a 210-kilometer dash from Rieti to Porto Sant’Elpidio.
The “Race of the Two Seas” will finish again in San Benedetto del Tronto, with a final-day, 10km individual time trial.
“For 2015, we created a course that, as in previous editions, will test every type of rider,” said Tirreno-Adriatico race director, Stefano Allocchio. “Participation will be extraordinary as usual. Contador, Nibali, Froome, Valverde, Rodriguez, just to give you some names, have all programmed to take part at the race already and I’m certain the spectacle will be guaranteed.”
The post Tirreno-Adriatico’s 2015 route offers a little of everything appeared first on VeloNews.com.