Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Chinese race not ready for 2012

The UCI announces that the first edition of the Tour of Hangzhou will not take place as scheduled from 17th to 21st October, but will seek to be part of the UCI WorldTour calendar in 2013.

This decision was made by the UCI together with all the implicated parties – in particular GCP, the Chinese Cycling Association, the Chinese Sports Ministry and the city of Hangzhou – after an in-depth analysis of the situation two months out from the event.
Despite the efforts of all those involved in this initiative – and the UCI wishes to thank them for their commitment – not all the general conditions necessary to guarantee that the race would fulfil the UCI WorldTour quality criteria had been met.

“We put in a lot of work to stage the first edition of the event in 2012, but we needed a little more time to fine-tune certain internal matters in China,” said GCP Director Mr Alain Rumpf. “In choosing to delay the first edition, we can ensure that the event will meet the expectations of all our partners, as was the case last year with the Tour of Beijing.”

According to the UCI President, Mr Pat McQuaid, the Tour of Hangzhou remains nevertheless “a very important element in the UCI’s strategy for the development of cycling, and the decision to postpone the organisation of this event will have no negative consequences on the project.”

Aussie team for World Champs named

Australian long teams for 2012 UCI Road World Championships

Cycling Australia today confirmed the long teams from which the Cyclones will be selected to contest the 2012 UCI Road World Championships being staged in the Limburg region of the Netherlands, from 16 to 23 September 2012.
Cycling Australia National Performance Director, Kevin Tabotta, says the hilly road race courses have influenced the selections.
"It's a solid world championship course," said Tabotta. "The 16.5km road circuit contains two climbs each lap including the famed 1200 metre long Cauberg that boasts a six percent (6% ) gradient.
"The elite men's event also covers a hilly 100km loop prior to reaching the finishing circuits around Valkenberg so a tough day in the saddle is expected.
"We have athletes listed in the long teams for men, women and U23 men who have shown form in recent selective races and we believe we can compete with the best nations for results in both road and time trial events."
Places Qualified
The UCI has confirmed Australia has qualified the following places for the Championships:
  • Elite Men - nine riders in the road race and two in the time trial
  • Elite Women - six riders in the road race and two in the time trial plus Oceania Champion in each event if selected
  • U23 Men - five for the road race and two for the time trial plus Oceania Champion in each event if selected
  • Junior Men - three for the road race and two for the time trial plus Oceania Champion in each event if selected
  • Junior Women - four for the road race and and two for the time trial plus Oceania Champion in each event if selected
Long Team - Elite Men
  1. Simon CLARKE (Selby, VIC  18.07.1986 / Orica-GreenEDGE) RR
  2. Allan DAVIS (Bundaberg, QLD - 27.07.80 / Orica-GreenEDGE) RR
  3. Luke DURBRIDGE (Bassendean, WA 09.04.1991 / Orica-GreenEDGE) TT
  4. Simon GERRANS (Jamieson, VIC 16.05.1980 / Orica-GreenEDGE) RR
  5. Cadel EVANS (Barwon Heads, VIC 14.02.1977 / BMC) RR
  6. Adam HANSEN (Edmonton, QLD 11.05.1981 / Lotto-Belisol) RR
  7. Heinrich HAUSSLER (Inverell, NSW 25.02.1984 / Garmin Sharp) RR
  8. Michael MATTHEWS (Farrer, ACT 26.09.1990 / Rabobank) RR
  9. Cameron MEYER (Helena Valley, WA 11.01.1988 / Orica-GreenEDGE) RR, TT
  10. Richie PORTE (Hadspen, TAS 30.01.1985 / Team Sky) RR, TT
  11. Michael ROGERS (Garran, ACT 20.12.1979 / Team Sky) RR, TT
  12. Rory SUTHERLAND (Canberra, ACT 08.02.1982 / United Healthcare) RR
  13. David TANNER (Williamstown, VIC 30.09.1984 / Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) RR
Long Team - Elite Women
  1. Tiffany CROMWELL  (Upper Sturt, SA 06.07.1988 / Orica-GreenEDGE) RR
  2. Gracie ELVIN (Yarralumla, ACT 31.10.1988 / Team Jayco-AIS) (Oceania RR Champion) RR
  3. Shara GILLOW - (Belli Park, QLD 23.12.1987 / Orica-GreenEDGE) (Oceania TT Champion) RR & TT
  4. Rochelle GILMORE (Stanwell Tops, NSW 14.12.1981 / Lotto Honda) RR
  5. Taryn HEATHER (Kensington Gardens, SA 31.08.1982) TT
  6. Joanne HOGAN (Moorabbin, VIC 09.06.1982 Bizkaia-Durango) RR
  7. Chloe HOSKING (Campbell, ACT 01.10.1990 / Specialized-lululemon) RR
  8. Melissa HOSKINS (Lesmurdie, WA 24.02.1991 / Orica-GreenEDGE) RR
  9. Jessie MACLEAN (Campbell, ACT 17.10.1985 / Team Jayco-AIS) RR
  10. Rachel NEYLAN (Adelaide, SA 09.03.1982 ABUS Nutrixxion) RR
  11. Loren ROWNEY (Molendinar, QLD 14.10.1988 / Specialized-lululemon) RR
  12. Alexis RHODES (Seaton, SA 01.12.1984 / Orica-GreenEDGE) TT
  13. Carla RYAN (Nathalia, VIC 21.09.1985 / ) RR
  14. Amanda SPRATT (Springwood, NSW 17.09.1987 / Orica-GreenEDGE) RR
  15. Carlee TAYLOR (Marino, SA 15.02.1989 / Vienne Futuroscope) RR
Long Team - U23 Men
  1. Nick AITKEN (Wonthaggi, VIC 01.01.1990 / Team Jayco AIS) (Oceania RR Champion) RR
  2. Rohan DENNIS (Vale Park, SA 28.05.1990 / Rabobank) RR, TT
  3. Michael FREIBERG (Dianella, WA 10.10.1990 / V Australia) RR
  4. Damien HOWSON ( Greenwith, SA 13.08.1992 / Team Jayco AIS) (Oceania TT Champion) RR, TT
  5. Patrick LANE ( Northcote, VIC 29.08.1991 / Team Jayco AIS) RR
  6. Jay McCARTHY (Coorparoo, QLD 08.09.1992 / Team Jayco AIS) RR
  7. Adam PHELAN (Isabella Plains, ACT 23.08.1991 / Drapac Profesional Cycling) RR
  8. Samuel SPOKES (Tamworth, NSW 16.04.1992 / Omega Pharma - Quickstep) RR
Appeals against non-selection in the long teams must be lodged no later than 5.00pm (AEST) Friday 31 August. Final teams will be selected by 10 September.

Riding through the Swiss Valais region

Saturday, 25 August 2012

St Bernard's Pass, Swiss/Italian border

... the highest elevation gaining pass in the Alps.

All images copyright Steve Thomas

Friday, 24 August 2012

UCI on Armstrong, stropped of 7 Tours?

The UCI notes Lance Armstrong’s decision not to proceed to arbitration in the case that USADA has brought against him.

The UCI recognises that USADA is reported as saying that it will strip Mr. Armstrong of all results from 1998 onwards in addition to imposing a lifetime ban from participating in any sport which recognises the World Anti-Doping Code.

Article 8.3 of the  WADC states that where no hearing occurs the Anti-Doping Organisation with results management responsibility shall submit to the parties concerned (Mr Armstrong, WADA and UCI) a reasoned decision explaining the action taken.

As USADA has claimed jurisdiction in the case the UCI expects that it will issue a reasoned decision in accordance with Article 8.3 of the Code.

Until such time as USADA delivers this decision the UCI has no further comment to make

Of Steel

Verbier, mountain biking at it's best

Our Euro tour continues - a few shots from today's shoot in Verbier, the Swiss mountain biking Mecca - funny feeling, shooting trails I haven't ridden for almost 20 years...

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

A grand day out

A few days back we took a road trip over the infamous Col du Galibier in the French Alps, perhaps he toughest and most spectacular of Tour climbs.

Here's a few pics from a summers day, when more cyclists than cars hit the slopes on the mountain.

All images copyright Steve Thomas

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Best of British for home tour

Britain’s first ever Tour de France winner, Bradley Wiggins, will ride The Tour of Britain this September, giving British fans the chance to see him just under two months since he clinched his historic victory in Paris and only a month since Olympic Gold in Surrey.

Joining Wiggins in Team Sky’s line-up for The Tour is Mark Cavendish, a double-stage winner in last year’s Tour of Britain and the current World Champion on the road.  In 2011 Cavendish set his own piece of Tour de France history, becoming the first British rider to win the Green Jersey.

The Tour of Britain comes towards the end of Wiggins’ best ever season, having clinched overall victories in Paris Nice, the Tour de Romandie and the Criterium Dauphine stage races, before winning the Tour de France and Olympic Time Trial Gold on home roads.

Wiggins will become the first winner of the Tour de France to race in The Tour of Britain, while for the second successive September the reigning World Road Race Champion will line-up for The Tour of Britain, thanks to Cavendish’s participation.

“To have the reigning Tour de France and Olympic Time Trial Champion, and the current World Champion competing in The Tour of Britain is a dream for us.  That both riders are British and such great champions means that there is now a unprecented interest in the event,” said Race Director Mick Bennett.

“We are delighted that The Tour of Britain will be the first chance for many British fans to see Bradley Wiggins since his Tour de France and Olympic successes.  We are also very pleased that Mark Cavendish to the race again so he can ‘show-off’ the rainbow stripes in front of home fans.  What Mark did for the race last year following the cancellation of Stage Two meant a great deal to us, so he will always be welcome as a fantastic ambassador for The Tour.”

Joining Cavendish and Wiggins in the Team Sky line-up will be Devonian rider Jeremy Hunt, who will race over home roads on Stage Seven of The Tour from Barnstaple to Dartmouth.

Alongside the trio of British riders are two members of Bradley Wiggins’ successful Tour de France line-up Bernhard Eisel and Christian Knees, plus Swedish rider Thomas Löfkvist.

Team Sky provisional start-list:
Mark Cavendish (GBr); Bernhard Eisel (Aut); Jeremy Hunt (GBr); Christian Knees (Ger); Thomas Löfkvist (Swe); Bradley Wiggins (GBr)
Reserves: Salvatore Puccio (Ita); Luke Rowe (GBr)

Amateur cyclists will have the chance to preview the route of Stage One of The Tour of Britain, by taking part in The Tour Ride East Anglia on Saturday 8th September the day before the Grand Depart from Ipswich, while special Tour Rides in Scotland and Wales take place on the day of stages, giving entrants the chance to ride the route before seeing Cavendish and Wiggins take on the challenge of the Dumfries and Caerphilly finishes respectively.

Wiggins and Cavendish join two-time Giro d’Italia winner Ivan Basso and 2008 Olympic Road Race Champion Samuel Sanchez as having committed to racing in this September’s Tour. 

On the rim - Mavic insider

French bike parts manufacturer Mavic are one of the longest established and most respected high-end companies in the business, last week we dropped by for an exclusive tour of their top-secret HQ, here are a few behind the scenes images - lots more news and views on their 2013 range will follow over the next few weeks, so stay tuned for more "yellow peril" tests and tales..


The UCI has noted that the US Court has dismissed Lance Armstrong’s request that USADA’s disciplinary action against him should not proceed.

The US Court was not convinced under US law that Lance Armstrong’s rights of defence would not be respected in the arbitration procedure sought by USADA and in which an appeal to CAS is possible. The Court was confident enough that a procedure before neutral and independent arbitrators would provide sufficient guarantees and had to decide on Lance Armstrong’s objections.

The UCI was not a party to the US proceedings. Based upon the information that was known to it – UCI did not receive a copy of USADA’s file – UCI took the position that it had jurisdiction for results management and proposed that a third neutral and independent body should decide, based upon the evidence in USADA’s file, whether Lance Armstrong had a case to answer or not. 

The UCI notes that according to the US Court an arbitration proceedings should meet its concerns.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Haute Route blog, day 1

Haute Route Blog – Day 1

Words and photos Adam Tranter

The second edition of the Haute Route is underway. 780km and 19 mountains; a monumental challenge for every one of the 600 riders, it’s also a fairly substantial challenge for the 150-strong support crew. In that crew is Adam Tranter, who is taking on the 780km himself, on the back of a motorbike, which we’re fairly sure is cheating.

 “It’s that time of year again,” I thought to myself last week. It’s odd for me to have an event that’s only in its second year so engrained in my mental time line. But its importance in the diary is likely to be shared by the majority of the riders here.  The Haute Route has definitely earned its place in the busy international cyclosportive calendar.

A good proportion of entrants rode last year’s edition and just couldn’t get enough of it. Some heard good reports from their peers and in their press so thought they’d bring friends to give it a go. However we got here, we’re all in the same boat and having a great time. Well, when I say in the same boat, they’re cycling 780km and I’m on a bike with an engine. But let’s not let that get in the way.

My Haute Route experience started at 4am on Saturday, with an early wake up call to get to the airport. In the predictably long check in queue, people with bike boxes muttered about ‘this race in France’. “Are you doing it too?” started the conversation. “How much have you trained for it?” finished it.

Once in Geneva, the event village created a fairly incredible atmosphere. Riders signed on, built and tweaked bikes, enjoyed the sunshine and listened to the all-important rider briefing, in two languages, in a fairly impressive auditorium (complete with big red cinema seats, no popcorn, mind).

But all that preparation was just for today’s big moment - the start of the Haute Route 2012, from the Jardin Anglais. The plus side to getting up at 4.50am is that it gives you an opportunity to take some stunning pictures of the scenery.

There was an air of anticipation as riders warmed up and prepared for the depart. Each day, 75 of the top riders on the General Classification would start in the first group. But with no rankings set yet, riders who thought they had a serious chance of getting on the podium lined up. Nearly 100 riders lined up, which means this could be a hugely competitive Haute Route, or some riders have delusions of grandeur.

Starting right at the front were Haute Route 2011 winner and French MTB champion Peter Pouly and World Time Trial champion and Olympian Emma Pooley. Both were extremely active in the racing throughout the day, with Pooley pulling out an amazing performance and eventually finishing 4th overall, making her first female in the race. Peter Pouly led the male overall with a time of 03:03:07. Proving that if your name is Pooley, or Pouly, or any other similar sounding variants, then you’re probably going to be very good at cycling.

I can never get bored of mountains. Nearly every rider I spoke to today couldn’t get over how amazing these climbs are. “It was just fantastic. The climbs were beautiful, but brutal. I don’t think I stopped looking at my front wheel, just dragging myself up – it was just unbelievable. I don’t think my heart has gone to those places before,” said Andy Foster, just one of many British riders on the event.

Andy is a good example of a good proportion of riders here at the Haute Route. While Pooley and Pouly might be mixing it up at the front, people like Andy just want to get to Nice. The challenge is the 7 stages and 19 mountains; getting over them is the achievement. Entering as a present for his 40th birthday, Andy is here with four other friends and despite not having ridden anything like this before, he’s admirably optimistic, “If I get a massage and get some food down me, I should be alright”.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Sanchez leads armada to Britain

The 2008 Beijing Olympic Road Race Champion Samuel Sanchez will make his Tour of Britain debut this September as he leads the Euskaltel Euskadi squad’s return to Britain’s national Tour.

Sanchez, who was the Tour de France’s King of the Mountains in 2011, will ride The Tour of Britain ahead of his attack on the World Championship Road Race, which follows a week after The Tour culminates in Guildford on Sunday 16thSeptember.

The Euskaltel Euskadi line-up also includes Egoi Martinez, 17th overall in this year’s Tour de France and stage winner and King of the Mountains in the Vuelta a España, in an all-Spanish rider line-up for The Tour of Britain.

Also announced today is the provisional line-up for Saur Sojasun, which includes Tour de France lanterne-rouge Jimmy Engoulvent, the overall winner of this year’s Four Days of Dunkirk, and Jonathan Hivert, a stage winner in the 2012 Tour de Romandie.

Euskaltel Euskadi provisional start-list:
Samuel Sanchez; Victor Cabedo, Egoi Martinez, Miguel Minguez, Adrian Saez; Pablo Urtasun

Saur Sojasun provisional start-list:
Jimmy Engoulvent; Jérémie Galland; Jonathan Hivert; Cyril Lemoine; Jean-Marc Martino; Rony Martias

Monday, 13 August 2012

Haute Route Pyrenees is coming

The Haute Route Pyrenees is Born
13th August 2012
OC Sport, a global sports marketing and events company specialising in professional sailing and outdoor events, has announced today the creation of the Haute Route™ Pyrenees, a year after its twin sister the Haute Route™ Alps was established as the ‘Toughest and Highest cyclosportive in the World’. The first edition of the Haute Route Pyrenees will be held from the 1st to 7th September 2013, crossing a legendary course from Catalonia (Spain) to the Basque Coast (France), featuring seven timed stages, 800 kilometres, 20,000 meters of ascent and 20 legendary Pyrenean cols.
The concept of the Haute Route Pyrenees (Catalonia-Basque Coast) will be identical to that of the Haute Route Alps (Geneva-Nice), with both events being held annually. The peloton will consist of hundreds of cyclists from all continents across the globe, traversing this stunning mountain range in seven timed stages, which will include an individual time trial mid-week. Riders’ first motivation will be to finish the race and to share an experience of a lifetime. All participants will be ranked individually (Solo) and as part of a team between 3 and 9 cyclists (Team).
The course has been once again designed by Race Director Jean-François Alcan, who describes his inspiration for the route: “The Pyrenees offer an ideally suited profile for the Haute Route, with the exceptional beauty of the landscape and the authenticity of the valleys crossed. Our journey links the crystal Mediterranean waters to the shores of the Atlantic, from East to West, via 800km and 20,000 metres of ascent. The highest cols of the Pyrenees will feature in the challenging course, including the mythical Tourmalet, and riders must be wary that these climbs are even steeper than the Alpine ones.” The Haute Route Pyrenees will link two dynamic, world-famous and iconic cities, which offer excellent accommodation and international airports. 
The formula that has contributed strongly to the success of the Haute Route Alps will be replicated for the new Haute Route Pyrenees: a multiday cyclosportive consisting of timed stages, featuring a carefully chosen selection of world-famous cols and ascents, with a limited number of participants to ensure the quality of the event and unique atmosphere amongst the riders who will be ranked as both individuals and teams. Rémi Duchemin, CEO of OC Sport, commented: “Our objective is to offer a unique experience and total safety, to hundreds of dedicated cycling enthusiasts. Previous riders of the Haute Route have claimed it to the best, or one of the top three, experiences of their lives. With editions in both the Alps and the Pyrenees, we hope to inspire millions of cycling fans worldwide but only 1,200 participants can be on the start line in Geneva or in Catalonia.”
OC Sport will announce the Start and Finish host cities, the details of the course for the Haute Route Pyrenees along with registration conditions in the coming weeks. It has been confirmed the 50 entries will be reserved for participants who wish to take on the ultimate challenge of the Alps and the Pyrenees in the same year, with the start in Catalonia one week after the finish in Nice. 
Peter Pouly, one of the winners of the Haute Route Alps’ inaugural edition, and returning in 2012, welcomed the creation of the Haute Route Pyrenees: “Taking 14 days to cross both the Alps and the Pyrenees with a week off in the middle is the dream for all cycling enthusiasts. Only the most determined will succeed in completing both the Geneva-Nice and Catalonia-Basque Coast events with 1600km, the equivalent of 5 ascents of Everest from sea level and back, and 40 mythical cols before they can claim the ultimate accolade!”
Calendar 2012/2013 Haute Route Alps 2012 (second edition) – 19th - 25th August 2012 Haute Route Alps 2013 (third edition) – 18th - 24th August 2013 Haute Route Pyrenees 2013 (first edition) – 1st - 7th September 2013