Rolland calls for Vital Concept to be given time to earn Tour de France selection

Pierre Rolland (EF-Drapac) joking around

Pierre Rolland has called for his new squad Vital Concept to be given a chance to earn Tour de France selection in the early part of the 2019 season. The Frenchman joins the Pro Continental squad from EF Education First-Drapac and is aiming to make his 11th consecutive Tour appearance. In 2018, ASO announced the Tour’s four wildcard invitations in the first week of January, before Vital Concept had raced competitively, and the new squad was overlooked for one of the four wildcard places. Manager Jerome Pineau has looked to buttress the roster for their second campaign. Sprinter Bryan Coquard remains in situ, while the new arrivals include Rolland, Cyril Gautier and former French champion Arthur Vichot. “I’ve done ten Tours de France in a row, which is something quite difficult to imagine,” Rolland told Ouest France . “But every year, whether you’re in a WorldTour team or not, you’re ...

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Offseason Capsule: AG2R

What next for the over-achieving brown shorts? After taking big steps forward over the last few years, 2018 was a season of consolidation, marked by regular prominence but few major wins What we said last year I was in optimistic mood . On reflection, perhaps too optimistic. I’m pleased I put Bardet up as a contender for the World Champs and pumped the brakes on his Tour chances, but I may have oversold his chances of repeating a productive couple of years in ’16 and ’17. Olivier Naesen didn’t quite get the results I hoped for though at least I threw in a positive note for Dillier. As for the climbers not named after lettuce (thanks, Brad’s son!) there was a big gap between my hopes and reality. What we got in 2018 Romain Bardet turned in a strong spring, with second in a tough Strade Bianche and third in ...

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Freeman to face medical tribunal over testosterone patch delivery

Richard Freeman, former Team Sky doctor

Former Team Sky and British Cycling doctor Richard Freeman is set to face a medical tribunal in connection with the 2011 delivery of testosterone patches to the national team's headquarters in Manchester. According to a report in The Sunday Telegraph , Freeman is likely to face the General Medical Council tribunal which could decide to punish him with a suspension or remove him from the medical register. In 2016, UK Anti-Doping launched an investigation into the delivery of a 'mystery package' from British Cycling headquarters to Team Sky during the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine for Bradley Wiggins. During their examination of the records at the Manchester National Cycling Centre, investigators found evidence of a delivery of banned testosterone patches, as well as 60 - 70 vials of triamcinolone. Freeman worked for both teams in 2011, and the medical equipment for the two programmes shared storage space at the National Cycling ...

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Geraint Thomas admits frustration at status on Team Sky during Tour de France

Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) on the final podium at the Tour de France, with Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) and

Geraint Thomas has admitted to frustration at how Team Sky had designated Chris Froome as their lone protected rider at the Tour de France despite the Welshman’s victory at Critérium du Dauphiné in the lead-up to the race. In an interview with the Guardian , Thomas discussed how he was informed that the team would not wait for him if he punctured or crashed in the stage 3 team time trial at the Tour, by which point he already had a buffer of 52 seconds over Froome. “I was frustrated because I thought I was also a protected rider,” Thomas said. “But it’s not a decision they took lightly. They would have thought about it and debated it. I said my bit, and they said: ‘No.’ So you have to accept it. The likelihood [of a puncture] is really slim but at the time I thought it’s a shit situation. ...

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Lotto Soudal bid a fond farewell to Marcel Sieberg

Marcel Sieberg (Lotto Soudal)

While always heralded by the team that they're about to join, rarely does a pro rider receive much of a good-bye from the team that they're leaving. But Lotto Soudal are bidding a very fond farewell to Marcel Sieberg , who's leaving to join Bahrain-Merida next season. Sieberg has spent eight years at the Belgian WorldTour team, mainly in a capacity during that time as the lead-out man for sprinter André Greipel , who's also leaving for pastures new at Fortuneo-Samsic in 2019. In a clear demonstration of how well-liked 36-year-old Sieberg is on the team, Lotto Soudal has put together a Facebook gallery of some of the German's most memorable moments with the squad, writing on Twitter that they "want to thank 'Sibi' with this beautiful photo album". Sieberg has so far only taken two wins in his pro career – at the Ronde van Drenthe in 2005 and ...

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Offseason Capsule: UAE

UAE’s 2018 was ordinary. 2019 could be much better. A reminder: this was written and scheduled before Lombardia. So if one of these guys wins a monument, or the team folds, or aliens invade… I’m sorry I didn’t cover it. When the UAE hegemony comes, and the history books are re-written, they’ll look back on 2018 as a bridging year. It was fine. Some good moments, but plenty of periods of irrelevance, too. What we said last year This was the boss’ contribution , and he looked at the big-picture move from a poor Italian team to a big-money squad with Italian roots and global interest. He also covered the arrival of Aru, Martin and Kristoff. Nothing was over the top, but there was broad short- and long-term enthusiasm for the project. There was also some justified concern in the post and the comments over the lack of “middle” to ...

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Julian Alaphilippe: Everyone expected me to win the Worlds

Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors)

France's Julian Alaphilippe had nothing short of a fantastic season in 2018: a stage win at the Oro y Paz in Colombia, two stage wins at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, followed two weeks later by victory at Flèche Wallonne , and then a stage at the Critérium du Dauphiné, and two more stage wins at the Tour de France , where he also won the polka-dot jersey. Just a week after the Tour, the 26-year-old won the Clasica San Sebastian , and then took a stage win and the overall title at both the Tour of Britain and the Tour of Slovakia in September. It was natural, therefore, that Alaphilippe's name should crop up among the top favourites for the UCI Road World Championships road race in Innsbruck, Austria, later that month: a punchy parcours, with a sting in the tail in the shape of the Höttinger Höll climb ...

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Ben Swift returns to Team Sky for 2019

Ben Swift wears the UAE Abu Dhabi jersey

Ben Swift will return to Team Sky for 2019, working as a mentor to the British team’s young riders as well as targeting sprint victories. Swift was part of Team Sky for seven years before moving to UAE Team Emirates in 2017. He struggled with injuries and found it difficult to integrate into the Italian-based team , with his best result a second place behind former teammate and close friend Pete Kennaugh on a mountain stage to L’Alpe d’Huez during the 2017 Critérium du Dauphiné. However, Swift showed his potential by finishing fifth in the 2017 World Championships in Bergen, recalling his podium places at Milan-San Remo in 2014 and 2016. Swift slipped into a support role for Alexander Kristoff in the cobbled Classics this spring but fractured his back during the Tour of Flanders. That put an end to his hopes of riding the Giro d’Italia and the Tour ...

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Offseason Capsule: Mitchelton-Scott

Great Scott! A reminder: this was written and scheduled before Lombardia. So if Adam wins a monument, or the team folds, or aliens invade… I’m sorry I didn’t cover it. I bet Orica wish they’d hung on for another year. Mitchelton’s first season with the Australia-based outfit was a resounding success, with a first grand tour victory in Spain the culmination of a well-executed plan. What we said last year Yeah, I’d rather not link to this . I wasn’t totally down on the Yates boys, and I said that we could hope for GT podiums between them and Chaves. Still, my expectation was that they’d stop their development a rung or two below the vey best. That prediction has not aged well. Otherwise (how was the play, Mrs Lincoln?), I was happy enough with this. I liked the infrastructure and the support, and I had doubts about Ewan and ...

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Moscon ends season on Guangxi high, aims for 2019 Giro

Moscon ends season on Guangxi high, aims for 2019 Giro

Overall victory at Guangxi gives Moscon confidence as he eyes a first start and stage victories at his home Grand Tour Read the full article at Moscon ends season on Guangxi high, aims for 2019 Giro on VeloNews.com .

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Still hungry: Dan Martin profile

James Witts 19 Oct 2018 Ireland’s Dan Martin talks to Cyclist about gastronomy, dope cheats and riding through the pain of that crash at last year’s Tour This article first appeared in Issue 75 of Cyclist Magazine Words James Witts Photography Sean Hardy Search online for Dan Martin and you may come across an Instagram image of his wife, Jess, eating what appears to be a miniature globe on the end of stick. It has been plucked from an ornate structure that looks more like a work of modern art than a meal. ‘That was at El Celler de Can Roca,’ Martin says of the three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Girona, voted world number one in 2013 and 2015. ‘It was from the taster menu. The Roca brothers [chefs Joan, Josep and Jordi] travel for two months each year to seek inspiration, and then create mouthfuls representing a destination they’ve been to. ...

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Pro cycling power ranking: The top 10 riders of 2018

Joe Robinson 15 Oct 2018 From the Classics to the Grand Tours, Cyclist ranks the top 10 riders of 2018 With Thibaut Pinot's solo victory at Il Lombardia last Saturday came the end of the 2018 professional cycling season. Yes, there's the matter of the final of the Tour of Guangxi out in China still to be contested but for cycling's biggest and best talents, the season will be over and it will be time to consider the year just gone and the newest ambitions over the next 12 months. Unlike years previous, 2018 wasn't dominated by one rider. From Daryl Impey's win at the Tour Down Under back in January, the spread of riders gracing the top step has been fairly even, shared between riders used to victory and some finally breaking through to the upper echelons of the sport. While cycling's five Monuments presented five different winners from ...

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Felline extends contract with Trek-Segafredo

Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo)

Fabio Felline will remain with Trek-Segafredo in 2019 after signing a one-year contract extension with the team. The Italian has been with the squad since Trek took over title sponsorship in 2014. Winner of the Trofeo Laigueglia in 2017 and the points classification of the Vuelta a España the previous year, Felline missed the Ardennes Classics this season after being diagnosed with toxoplasmosis in early April. He was side-lined for two months, returning at the Critérium du Dauphiné in June. Felline completed the Vuelta before lining out for Italy in the individual time trial at the World Championships in Innsbruck, placing 30th. The 28-year-old placed third at last week’s delayed Italian time trial championship in Cavour. “I am extremely happy about this extension. I signed for one more year and for me it’s very important that the team wants to prolong our relationship and keeps believing in me,” Felline said ...

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Dion Smith signs for Mitchelton-Scott

Dion Smith puts on the best climber's polka dot jersey on the podium after the third stage

Mitchelton-Scott have signed 25-year-old Kiwi Dion Smith to a two-year deal covering the 2019 and 2020 seasons. Smith rode the past two seasons with Wanty-Groupe Gobert after stints with One Pro Cycling and Hincapie Sportswear. "Reaching the top level in professional cycling is a massive goal of mine, and now I am 25 and about to sign for a WorldTour team, but not only that, with the team that I've aspired to be a part of for years being a rider from the Southern Hemisphere. Mitchelton-Scott has always been an exciting dream," Smith said in a statement released by the team. Smith started his pro career as a trainee for Pro Continental team Champion System in 2013. He rode a mostly US calendar with Hincapie Sportswear in 2014 and 2015, then jumped to One Pro Cycling for the 2016 season. When that team's 2017 plans fell short of the Pro ...

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Cummings: Sometimes a bad experience can be a good one

Steve Cummings before the start of stage 3 at Volta a Catalunya

It has been a season to forget for Steve Cummings . Or maybe not. The British rider has had a frustrating and winless campaign, but is determined now to use it as a force for change. “It’s good you know, sometimes you need a season like that,” he told Cyclingnews at the Vuelta a España , where he had his Grand Tour fill after missing out on selection for the Tour de France. “You rip everything you’ve been doing apart and it’s an opportunity to change some things and go forward. I think it’s just given me a chance to explore everything really, lots of new ideas. That’s how I see it, anyway.” Cummings had enjoyed a highly successful spell since joining Dimension Data in 2015, and seemed liberated and rejuvenated, even in his late 30’s. He won a stage of the Tour de France in his first year and ...

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Commentary: American cycling’s big moment

Sepp Kuss

As summer 2018 winds down, five American stars have given U.S. fans reason to cheer, from the Vuelta to mountain bike worlds and the track. Read the full article at Commentary: American cycling’s big moment on VeloNews.com .

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Thomas signs new three-year-deal with Team Sky

Thomas signs new three-year-deal with Team Sky

Weshman extends to the end of the 2021 season, having joined the British super-team in 2010. Read the full article at Thomas signs new three-year-deal with Team Sky on VeloNews.com .

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Geraint Thomas extends with Team Sky for three years

Geraint Thomas at the start

Geraint Thomas will stay with Team Sky for another three years. The British team announced on Sunday afternoon outside the team bus at the Tour of Britain that the Tour de France winner will stay with them through the 2021 season. “I’m pleased it’s sorted – and delighted to be staying with the team,” he said in a team press release. “It’s been a great journey for me with Team Sky and obviously the last few months have been crazy. It’s working really well for me here and I’m excited about what’s still to come. “It really is one big happy family where my relationship with Team Sky is concerned, so I couldn’t be more delighted. I feel at home with the Team. I’ve known Dave (Brailsford), Rod (Ellingworth) and Fran (Millar) for years, since I was 17, so it’s great that I’ll be continuing to work alongside those guys ...

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Sepp Kuss drops the pounds to drop his rivals

Sepp Kuss drops the pounds to drop his rivals

The 23-year-old American said he got down to his ideal race weight in the last few months by eating smarter. Read the full article at Sepp Kuss drops the pounds to drop his rivals on VeloNews.com .

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Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome play down chances for Worlds participation

Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome on the 2018 Tour de France podium

Both Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas will make a call after this week’s Tour of Britain over whether to keep racing until the UCI Road World Championships in Innsbruck in the final week of September, but speaking before the start of the British Tour in South Wales the two Team Sky leaders played down their chances of being on the start line. Speaking at a press conference Saturday in Newport, Wales, Thomas as good as said he will not go to Innsbruck, although like Froome he was on the short list of riders released last week by British Cycling. He certainly does not view the next eight days as World’s preparation. “Not really, no," Thomas said when asked about preparation for worlds. "Winning the Dauphine and the Tour doesn’t happen every day. I’ve enjoyed it, I’m not in the shape to try and win. We’ll see how this week goes ...

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