UCI Men 2010




Worlds Road Race
Dateline: 4-Oct-2010
As it so often is the “Worlds” was a struggle to overcome the distance and the determined few that survived to the finish. This year there were 30 or more in with a chance on the final lap. Quite a few made their bid for glory but were reeled in. Now everyone will know that Thor Hushovd took the prized jersey for Norway - but look at the nations that fought out the final chapter - 3 riders from Denmark & Belgium, 2 from Australia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Slovenia, Netherlands and Germany plus 1 each from Norway, Italy, Span, Japan, France, Luxembourg and Portugal. True there were the Italians and Belgians that had attacked on the final lap and then “sat up” to come home a few minutes later. But still it’s not the “traditional” make-up of a Worlds result sheet. However a team DNF for GB is something that has become a tradition in the pro-elite road race. An event with its British high-point all those years ago in 1965. Of course there have been exceptions - Les West for one - but the top prize still seems that step too far no matter who is in the team. Cavendish to change things in 2011? Let’s hope so! [ps one year later Mark did make that date with destiny .. sweet!]

IMQ18604wLooking Back
Dateline: 24-Sep-2010
Another road season draws to a close with most riders thinking of a short break and who will be paying their wages in 2011. For spectators like me it’s time to sit back and watch the big finale - the World Road Race Championships - and then the final classics as the leaves start to fall.

You have seen how the season played out. In the Grand Tours the 1-2-3’s were Basso, Arroyo and Nibali in Italy; Contador, Schleck and Menchov in France and then Nibali again, Mosquera and Velits in Spain.

For the Brits it was that man Cavendish again taking sprint after sprint - but just one of the major jerseys. Don’t complain - that was good enough to equal Malcolm Elliott’s last great achievement in Spain over 20 years ago.

Amongst the pro tour teams; HTC Columbia seemed to be winning everywhere, with Greipel filling the space not occupied by Cavendish.

In contrast Team Sky seemed to be trying hard but not quite making it. In the UK they dominated the national championships but fell a bit short when racing against international opposition. Even in the Tour of Britain they were eclipsed by HTC and Vacansoleil. Clearly having the biggest team bus does not mean that you also get the best results.IMQ18503w

The team’s dreams of a grand tour podium place were just that - dreams. And there is precious little left now in 2010 to boost the team’s tally for the year.

Bradley Wiggins is down to ride the Tours of Piedmont and Lombardy along with Paris-Tours; but there is little prospect of a victory even if he does actually ride. With no participation in the World Road Championships nor on the road or track at the troubled Commonwealth Games his season is effectively over. Perhaps another team member will produce the final big hit? But if not then IMHO two of the best-value riders for Team Sky were the experienced Russell Downing and the young Ben Swift. With overall victories in the Tour de Wallonie and the Tour de Picardie respectively they were able to deliver the goods as well as ride in support.

For the Australians the road season was good. With Cadel Evans riding in the rainbow jersey, Matt Lloyd winning the climber’s jersey in the Giro and plenty of names at the front throughout the season. And there must be a real prospect of more in the coming weeks.

For the USA the road season was less rewarding - especially for those fans that were raised on 7 years of Tour victories. I feel that the persistent bad-smell generated by Floyd Landis has soured the atmosphere and put off sponsors and supporters alike. In fact the booming domestic cyclo-cross scene might well be a reaction to this and a chance to get into fresh fields (pun - sorry!).

Dateline: 30-Mar-2010
Not only did Russell Downing go and win a stage in the Criterium International at the weekend but today the team get a wild-card place in the big one... the Tour de France. No wonder there are cloned Team Sky jerseys for sale on the Internet - stocks of the real ones will be snapped up once they hit the shops. For Russell this win must rank has one of the best results of his career even ahead of winning the Tour of Ireland. And it must be possible that he will be in the team when the Tour starts in Rotterdam come July.

Dateline: 4-Mar-2010
The massive investment in the new team is starting to show good results - with the highlight so far being the win last Saturday by Juan Antonio Flecha in the semi-classic Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Certainly things are looking good for the Spring Classics. Before then there is Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico with possibly the best chances being in Italy despite the strength of the local teams.

BalleriniF2wFranco Ballerini dies in rally crash
Dateline: 8-Feb-2010

Team Radio-Shack Opens Website
Dateline: 21-Jan-2010
“The official
Team RadioShack website has arrived. Explore the site and be the first to meet the team as they bring the heat to the Tour Down Under” So arriving a little behind Team Sky - but there’s a long season ahead and it’s June & July for the big events.

Team Sky - Part 5
Dateline: 4-Jan-2019
The team launch went to plan and the
team web site fired-up in all its glory - a top class professional show right down to the Jaguar team cars in team colours - black with mid-blue contrasts. A great start and here’s wishing them every success in 2010

Future World Championships Venues
Dateline: 29-Dec-2009
As you will all know by now the next Elite Worlds are to be held in Melbourne / Geelong, Victoria, Australia. But the proposals for future years are less well reported. For 2011 the venue planned is Copenhagen, Denmark and then in 2012 Limberg, Netherlands. In 2012 the Worlds will feature a combined and expanded Junior and Elite programme. The selection of the venue in 2013 is yet to be made - but Ponferrada, Spain seems to be a strong possibility.
Where ...? I had to search Google Earth to find the place. Apparently it is a town in northern Spain 100kms or more south-west from Gijon (on the north coast). Plenty of hills and a nice Templar Castle - but hardly well-known. Someone will, no doubt, tell me that it is a regular stage town in the Vuelta - but the Worlds might put a bit of a strain on its visitor capacity I guess. And being in a relatively isolated, inland position with just one major road (A6) for access then travelling in daily - when the local hotels are full - may not work. Camper vans all round!
Hum ... an interesting choice. Now how about Peebles or Skipton putting in a bid as well?

Team Sky - Part 4
Dateline: 11-Dec-2009
L’Equipe’s story that Bradley Wiggins would join Team Sky is true! Despite all the denials over the 3 weeks since the story today’s press conference in London makes it official. Announcing the signing, Dave Brailsford, Team Principal of Team Sky, said; "Brad will be at home in Team Sky. It is the perfect fit and he will be a marquee rider for us.” (British Cycling).

For Sky this is a big boost to their chances of a ride in the TdF - at the expense of Garmin - but it will have cost them a substantial chunk of their budget not just for 2010 but the next four years. Bradley deserves every success for what he as already achieved - but now the stakes have been raised even higher for next year.

But the irony of the timing of this announcement might be missed by one Sky rider. “Thomas Lövkvist expects to see himself confirmed as Team Sky's captain for next year's Tour de France. When we come to the Tour de France, I will be riding for the general classification, he told eurosport.se” (Cyclingnews.com 8-Dec-2009)

There is still no web site for the team - but Cycling Weekly are providing  “As it happens” info about the team to meet the demand (Update - team web site now online). This gives the next team events as -
4-Jan Team Launch, London
5-Jan Training Camp, Valencia
19-Jan Tour Down Under
3-Feb Etoile de Bessèges
7-Feb Tour of Qatar
And Bradley Wiggins is quoted as saying that his season will include the Tours of Murcia (3-Mar) and Catalunya (22-Mar), the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France

Pro Tour Teams NOT in the Main Event
Dateline: 5-Dec-2009
The race is seven months away but already there are teams looking concerned. Why? Because they are not on the list of likely starters. Teams without a ticket to the biggest show, the Tour de France, include BMC Racing, Cervélo, Garmin-Transitions, Katusha, RadioShack, Skil-Shimano and Team Sky. So it looks like their seasons will have to start with bang to impress the guys at ASO.

Pro Tour Team Approvals
Dateline: 26-Nov-2009
The following Pro Tour teams were today approved for next year -
Astana (KAZ)
Caisse d’Epargne (ESP)
Euskaltel-Euskadi (ESP)
Footon-Servetto (ESP)
Française des Jeux (FRA)
Liquigas-Doimo (ITA)
Team Columbia-HTC (USA)
Team Milram (GER)
Omega Pharma-Lotto (BEL)
Quick Step (BEL)
Saxo Bank (DEN)
Team Katusha (RUS)
AG2R La Mondiale (FRA)
Garmin-Transitions (USA)
Rabobank (NED)
Team RadioShack (USA)
Team Sky (GBR)
Now that this is confirmed look out for comments from the pundits and the winners / losers over the next few weeks.

Team Sky - Part 3
Dateline: 21-Nov-2009
Italians Dario Cioni and Davide Vigano are the latest signings for the team and take the total riders to 24 - since I missed two other new faces that join my previous list of 20 riders. Mathew Hayman and Nicolas Portal were the two that sneaked in and so the squad quota most be virtually complete. But there are still rumours of negotiations to boost the team’s ranking by getting Bradley Wiggins on board (L’Equipe saying that it is agreed). If true then it would indicate that the team management really are trying to go from nowhere to winning some top world events in their first season. Great if it works. But I don’t see the “old order” quietly standing to one side to let it happen.

Meanwhile in the team “backroom”, Tour Racing Limited, the company that actually runs the team, has been offering £45-55k for a team mechanic based in Manchester. And I always thought that the mechanics were paid a pittance!

Team Sky - Part 2
Dateline: 20-Nov-2009
Sean Yates has become the latest member of the Team Sky management team for 2010 - making for a very strong and experienced line-up. But it’s the results - and the publicity they generate - that will be critical. Let us hope that the riders get into the events they want - and put on a good show.

So far all the PR is about getting a Pro Tour license, riding the Tour Down Under and hopes of a Tour de France place. But my trips in support of an earlier British pro team that started the season in Adelaide and won a Grand Tour place are still fresh in my mind. It would be a disaster for cycling in Britain if history were to repeat itself. Then the riders got the results but the team’s financial backing was just a mirage. This time Team Sky has the right backing but getting the results is never going to easy or certain. And does Sky want UK publicity from the team? Or will it be happy getting sports headlines elsewhere? Either way I’m sure that British fans will be out in force - and having someone to cheer - for the 2010 season. But then the British cyclists making the headlines are not forced to be in Team Sky.

2010 Road Race Calender
Dateline: 8-Nov-2009
Checking around race web sites for their 2010 dates I found that many simply came up blank. So after a little digging around and editing here is my version of the UCI calendar(s) for the early part of 2010. It only covers the top ranked events (down to 1.1 / 2.1) but then these are the most popular.
As for the past few years the big-budget teams will be starting in the Australian sunshine - and for 2010 that will include new boys Team Sky. The teams looking for TdF places in July are also likely to opt for the sunshine of Qatar before facing the challenges of the European spring. For everone else it will the French Riviera, Mallorca or the warmer parts of Italy. [Thought - Will climate change make Adelaide and Qatar too hot for racing? Will the Algarve in February be like Cornwall in June? Is it already? Will 2010 be the last time the Tour starts in Rotterdam due rising sea-levels? Am I overreacting to the frequent predictions of global warming disasters?... Answers on a postcard only please]

19-Jan-24-Jan Tour Down Under AUS UPT
30-Jan-02-Feb Giro della Provincia di Reggio Calabria ITA 2.1
31-Jan Grand Prix Cycliste la Marseillaise FRA 1.1 
03-Feb-07-Feb Etoile de Bessèges FRA 2.1 
06-Feb GP Costa degli Etruschi ITA 1.1 
07-Feb-11-Feb Trofeo Palma de Mallorca ESP 1.1
07-Feb-12-Feb Tour of Qatar QAT 2.1
10-Feb-14-Feb Tour Méditerranéen FRA 2.1
12-Feb-14-Feb Giro della Provincia di Grosseto ITA 2.1
17-Feb-21-Feb Volta ao Algarve POR 2.1
20-Feb Trofeo Laigueglia ITA 1.1
20-Feb-21-Feb Tour du Haut Var FRA 2.1
21-Feb-25-Feb Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol ESP 2.1
23-Feb-27-Feb Giro di Sardegna ITA 2.1
27-Feb GP dell'Insubria-Lugano SUI 1.1
27-Feb Omloop Het Nieuwsblad BEL 1.HC
28-Feb Classica Sarda Olbia-Pantogia ITA 1.1 
28-Feb Les Boucles du Sud Ardèche FRA 1.1
28-Feb GP di Lugano SUI 1.1
28-Feb Clasica de Almeria ESP 1.1
28-Feb Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne BEL 1.1 
01-Mar-07-Mar Tour of Langkawi MAS 2.HC
03-Mar Giro del Friuli ITA 1.1
03-Mar Le Samyn BEL 1.1
03-Mar-07-Mar Vuelta Ciclista a la Region de Murcia ESP 2.1
05-Mar-07-Mar Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen BEL 2.1
06-Mar Strade Bianche ITA 1.1 
07-Mar-14-Mar Paris-Nice FRA HIS
10-Mar-16-Mar Tirreno-Adriatico ITA HIS
17-Mar Nokere-Koerse BEL 1.1
20-Mar Milano-San Remo ITA HIS
21-Mar Eneco Ronde van het Groene Hart NED 1.1
21-Mar Cholet - Pays De Loire FRA 1.1
22-Mar-28-Mar Volta Ciclista a Catalunya ESP UPT
23-Mar-27-Mar Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali ITA 2.1
24-Mar Dwars door Vlaanderen / A travers la Flandre BEL 1.1
27-Mar E3 Prijs Vlaanderen - Harelbeke BEL 1.HC
27-Mar-28-Mar Critérium International FRA 2.HC
28-Mar Gent-Wevelgem BEL UPT
30-Mar-01-Apr KBC-Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde BEL 2.HC
31-Mar-05-Apr Settimana Ciclistica Lombarda by Bergamasca ITA 2.1
02-Apr Route Adélie de Vitré FRA 1.1
03-Apr Hel van het Mergelland NED 1.1
03-Apr Gran Premio Miguel Indurain ESP 1.HC
04-Apr Ronde van Vlaanderen / Tour des Flandres BEL UPT
04-Apr Flèche d Emeraude FRA 1.1 
05-Apr-10-Apr Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco ESP UPT
05-Apr Rund um Köln GER 1.1
06-Apr-09-Apr Circuit Cycliste Sarthe - Pays de la Loire FRA 2.1
07-Apr Scheldeprijs BEL 1.HC
07-Apr-11-Apr Volta ao Alentejo em Bicicleta POR 2.1
08-Apr Grand Prix Pino Cerami BEL 1.1
10-Apr-11-Apr Albert Achterhes Profronde van Drenthe NED 2.1
11-Apr Paris-Roubaix FRA HIS
11-Apr Klasika Primavera ESP 1.1
13-Apr Paris-Camembert FRA 1.1
14-Apr De Brabantse Pijl - La Flèche Brabançonne BEL 1.1
14-Apr-18-Apr Vuelta a Castilla y Leon ESP 2.1
15-Apr GP de Denain Porte du Hainaut FRA 1.1 
17-Apr Tour du Finistère FRA 1.1 
18-Apr Amstel Gold Race NED UPT
20-Apr-25-Apr Tour de Georgia USA 2.HC
21-Apr La Flèche Wallonne BEL HIS 
25-Apr Liège-Bastogne-Liège BEL HIS
27-Apr-02-May Tour de Romandie SUI UPT
16-May-23-May Amgen Tour of California USA 2.HC

Weird World Revisited
Dateline: 31-Oct-2009
Today I checked back yet again on a story from the start of 2008 - about the proposed Tour of America. The event web site has moved on - in that it now has a stage schedule starting in September 2010. If this seems familiar it’s because I wrote almost exactly the same thing about the plans for 2009! For 2010 the race starts in New Jersey on 4-Sept and finishes in California on 26-Sep. But “starts” is probably not the right word - given the fantasy nature of the racing in 2008 and 2009. And even though the race schedule has been updated for 2010 - the recent news page is stuck at April 2008. So the chances of success at the 3rd attempt seem little improved over the previous years. But I could be wrong......

Team Sky
Dateline: 22-Oct-2009
Next year’s line-up for Team Sky continues to be revealed - but only bit by bit. In summary the situation is that the confirmed riders, in surname order, are - Kurt Arvesen, John Lee Augustyn, Edvald Boasson-Hagen, Kjell Carlstrom, Steve Cummings, Russell Downing, Juan Antonio Flecha, Chris Froome, Simon Gerrans, Greg Henderson, Pete Kennaugh, Thomas Lovkvist, Lars Petter Nordhaug, Morris Possoni, Ian Stannard and Geraint Thomas. A total 16 towards an expected target of around 25.
Update 30-Oct-2009 Additional riders confirmed or expected to be shortly are - Michael Barry, Sylvain Calzati, Serge Pauwels and Chris Sutton, nephew of British Cycling’s Shane Sutton. Making a total of 20.

The management and support team includes - David Brailsford, Scott Sunderland, Steven De Jongh and now Marcus Ljungqvist. They will operate out of Manchester (not many top-ranking Pro events around there though) and “somewhere” in Belgium.

The team’s 2010 race programme will most-likely kick off with the Tour Down Under (announcement was due mid-October but has yet to appear) - and, hopefully, a full schedule for fans will appear on a team website sometime soon. Or at least in time for travel plans to be made - given that almost all the team’s top-ranking events will be overseas. However the GB road team has been notable in its lack of pre-announcements of its race plans - making supporting the team overseas an almost impossible task for the average supporter. Being a pro team should change all that.

Footnote - “Minutes of the UK Sport Board Meeting held on 30th June 2009
Dave Brailsford and Ian Drake joined the meeting to give an update of their 4-year plan and in particular their sponsorship with Sky and plans to enter a team in the Tour de France. They explained that at the heart of the partnership with Sky is the use of their elite success to promote cycling from grass roots to elite level. Team Sky will aim to improve British Cycling’s chances of winning 6 out of the 18 available medals in London 2012; create the first British winner of the Tour de France within five years; inspire people of all ages to ride their bikes; and add further support to competitive cycling in Britain.
They stated that there would be no duplication of funding between Team Sky and their UK Sport funded Performance Programme and no dilution of focus on 2012 success. Team Sky will be operated and entirely funded by Sky through a wholly owned subsidiary company, Tour Racing.”

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