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EuroTrash Thursday!
This might be the “Off Season” but there is no shortage of news from the World of cycling to fill a EuroTrash Thursday. Could the Tour’s of Spain and Italy lose their third week of racing and is there no way back for Lance Armstrong? All these questions and more, plus cyclo-cross from Belgium and a ton of other news and video action to get you to the weekend. A Vuelta a España style café con leche por favor!

TOP STORY: A Two Week Vuelta a España?
During a forum on the Spanish Grand Tour, organised by the Spanish sports paper AS, race director Javier Guillén revealed that he was open to discussions on a shorter Vuelta a España in the future. He referred to the possibility of a two week Vuelta and Giro d’Italia or adding a third rest day to allow the race to start further away, similar to next year’s Giro that will start in Ireland in 2014. In return for a shorter race he wants a guarantee that the top riders would be on the start line.

The Tour de France organisers, ASO, are taking over the present organising company; Unipublic, which they previously owned a part of, changing the Spanish race to follow the aims of the French company. Guillén affirmed: “We have to introduce the country’s geography and gastronomy as part of our offering. We have to be a great televisual spectacular that takes place on public roads and converts the race into a huge festival, focused on starts and finishes.” He continued on the theme of following the French formula, “This is how the Tour works, and it achieves splendid results. Based on the television images you see, anyone would say there’s nothing ugly to see in France.”

If you have ever seen how RAI Sport TV in Italy cover the Giro you’ll know that the coverage is not only the race it’s self, but also the local tourist attractions, architecture and the regional food and drink from the stage start town. Spain has the culture, scenery, cuisine and local diversification as any other European country, so when Guillén says the race can be used to promote Spanish tourism, he has makes a good point.

From a financial point of view a two week Vuelta and Giro makes sense, but from a sporting angle it comes up short. The point of a Grand Tour is that the last week can make all the difference, its when the tough men come to the top. Also Spain and Italy are big countries, two weeks would not allow the race to go to many towns or it would add to the amount of transfer kilometres, which does not suit the riders. And then there would be the outcry from the Spaniards and Italians who don’t want to be seen as the smaller race. The Vuelta has changed over the last few years, first it was the move from spring to autumn and then ASO got involved, which was a big difference from what was a family run company to be more business orientated. Over the twelve Vuelta’s that I’ve reported on, I’ve found the race to have lost it’s personal touch and maybe a little less friendly, but let’s face it the action on the road has made up for that, which has made La Vuelta (probably) the best Grand Tour of the year.

But the bottom line is; a Grand Tour has to be three weeks or it is not a Grand Tour.

Vuelta a España 2013 Stage 20 to Alto de L´Angliru...3rd week action:

Soudal Jaarmarktcross Niel 2013
The World champion Sven Nys (Crelan-Euphony) showed why he is the World champion by working his way through the field and then riding away from the others in the final half of the race. 19 year-old Wout van Aert (Telenet-Fidea) had been away on his own, but was caught by Nys and eventually dropped. The muddy conditions in Belgium on Monday suited the rainbow jersey as he rode where others ran. Young Van Aert held on for second place ahead of team mate Rob Peeters. This was Nys’s fifth win in the Jaarmarktcross which is held on a Belgian National holiday for Remembrance Day.

Soudal Jaarmarktcross Niel Men's Result:
1. Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan-Euphony in 1:48
2. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Telenet-Fidea at 0:21
3. Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea at 1:14
4. Bart Aernouts (Bel) AA Drink Cycling Team at 1:20
5. Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team at 1:54
6. Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus at 2:02
7. Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus at 2:12
8. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games at 2:18
9. Marcel Meisen (Ger) Kwadro-Stannah at 2:20
10. Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team at 2:32.

In the woman’s race; Belgian champion Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) took her revenge on the British champion Nikki Harris (Telenet-Fidea) for all the second placing the English rider has been subjecting her to this season. The conditions for all the races were very muddy causing many falls and in the end there was only Harris and Cant left together at the front of the race. In the end the Belgian was the strongest and distanced Harris through the tough grass/mud section near the finish for a gap of 9 seconds at the line. Dutch girl Sabrina Stultiens (Rabobank Liv/Giant) finished on her own in third place over 1 minute down.

Soudal Jaarmarktcross Niel Woman’s Result:
1. Sanne Cant (Bel) Enertherm-BKCP in 37:40
2. Nikki Harris (GB) Young Telenet-Fidea at 0:09
3. Sabrina Stultiens (Ned) Rabobank Liv/Giant at 1:15
4. Ellen Van Loy (Bel) DNCS-Pro 2012 Cycling Team at 1:37
5. Pavla Havlikova (Cze) Young Telenet-Fidea at 1:46
6. Loes Sels (Bel) DNCS-Pro 2012 Cycling Team at 2:23
7. Githa Michiels (Bel) Toka Print MTB Team at 2:36
8. Karen Verhestraeten (Bel) Up Cycling Team at 3:34
9. Margriet Helena Kloppenburg (Den) Endura Lady Force at 4:03
10. Stephanie De Croock (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Bioracer at 4:07.

All the race action:

A Clean 2013 Vuelta a España
At the above mentioned forum on the Vuelta a España on Monday, it was revealed by race organiser Javier Guillén that of the 598 blood and urine samples taken at this year’s race all were clean. He also released information on the popularity of the race; the Spanish TV audience was around 1 million a day with 2 million on the most important stages. Of the foreign audience; Belgium, Holland and Denmark were the biggest and that 73% of the visitors to the Vuelta’s web-site was from outside Spain. There were around 1.8 million roadside spectators and on average they had travelled 42 kilometres to watch the race.

No Way Back for Armstrong
According to WADA President John Fahey “The proper process and the reasoned decision that was released by USADA was, to me, irrefutable.” He added: “Look, as far as I’m concerned, it’s done and dusted. Armstrong did what he did, we all know what that is. He did not co-operate, he did not defend the charges that USADA put out there last year and he was dealt with.” Fahey said this while at the WADA congress in South Africa. As to any possible talks with the disgraced American, Fahey remarked: “Now, does he wish to come good and indicate to the world what he knows, not just about himself, perhaps, maybe about others? I don’t know.” The Australian ex politician and rugby player summed up his thoughts with; “but I see it as done and dusted and it would take something close to a miracle to see that changed.”

No repeat of this, I hope:

Bardiani-CSF 2014 Roster
Italian ProConti team; Bardiani-CSF has finalised its roster for next year with a very young team of riders; the average age is only 24. The team’s top rider in 2013, Sacha Modolo will be with Lampre-Merida and it is expected that track-man Marco Coledan will be the team’s sprinter. Giro d’Italia stage 4 winner Enrico Battaglin will be the team leader, backed up by Stefano Pirazzi who took the mountains jersey in the ’13 Giro. Team manager Bruno Reverberi pointed out that “we’re an Italian team and so our goal is to again secure a wild card invitation to the WorldTour races and especially the Giro d’Italia.” He added “we’ve got a solid base of young talent who are set to do great things in 2014.”

New riders are: Andrea Manfredi & Andrea Piechele (Flaminia), Nicola Ruffoni (Bardiani stagiare) & Paolo Colonna (elite). They join Enrico Barbin, Enrico Battaglin, Nicola Boem, Manuel Bongiorno, Marco Canola, Marco Coledan, Sonny Colbrelli, Donato De Ieso, Filippo Fortin, Stefano Locatelli, Angelo Pagani, Stefano Pirazzi and Edoardo Zardini.

Enrico Battaglin wins Stage 4 of the 2013 Giro d'Italia:

Three Ex-Crelan riders join Wallonie-Bruxelles
The Wallonie-Bruxelles team announced six new riders for next season among which three riders are from the disbanded Crelan-Euphony team; Frédéric Amorison, Sébastien Delfosse and Christophe Prémont.

The team of 15 riders for the Belgian Continental team are: Frédéric Amorison (Crelan-Euphony), Maxime Anciaux, Quentin Bertholet, Olivier Chevalier, Sébastien Delfosse (Crelan -Euphony), Antoine Demoitie, Tom Dernies, Boris Dron, Jonathan Dufrasne, Laurent Evrard, Florent Mottet (Color Code-Biowanze), Loic Pestiaux (Color Code-Biowanze), Christophe Prémont (Crelan-Euphony), Julien Stassen and Robin Stenuit (Team Ottignies-Perwez).

Thomas de Gendt Goes to Court
According to the Belgian newspaper Gazet van Antwerpen, Thomas de Gendt is taking his Vacansoleil-DCM team manager Daan Luijkx to court over his contract for 2014 (and 2013) which he signed after his 3rd place in the 2012 Giro d’Italia. The contract is believed to be worth over €1 million a year and De Gendt is expecting the 2014 part of the contract to be bought out, but his contract was with Luijkx and not the team. De Gendt will be riding for Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 2014, but at a much lower wage, estimated at around €200,000 a year.


Alaphilippe, the youngest at OPQS: "I'm here to learn"
Julian Alaphilippe (born in 1992) will debut with the Omega Pharma – Quick-Step team in the Tour Down Under. The French rider will be the youngest in the Belgian team, along with the Czech Petr Vakoc, and he knows that his main task will be to "learn" and "help" his peers.

Alaphilippe won a stage of the Tour de l'Avenir and the points jersey and was ninth in the Under 23 World road Championships. He knows his place in a super team with Mark Cavendish, Tom Boonen, Tony Martin and Rigoberto Uran. "I am the youngest of the group. I have no pressure, I'm here to learn and do as much as possible for the team. I will ride for them this year, so I will have time to adjust. Anyway I'm not a braggart; I prefer to remain discreet "he said.

The French Under 23 cyclo-cross Champion spoke of his mud riding. "I'm not doing cyclo-cross” he confirmed on the French Federation website, “a few in December in preparation for the road season, then I will have a training camp in Mallorca with the team and then my first race." His debut will be at the Tour Down Under. "I learned during a meeting that I had with the team in Paris. So I will return to training this week. This is the first time I go to Australia and I'm happy to start there.”

"My first encounter with the guys (of the team) was very agreeable and assuring. Petacchi sat in front of me at meals and Bakelants on my right. Everyone treated me very well; even Cavendish gestured to me when I was with the coach to take bike measurements." Already the young Frenchman has a guide in the Belgian Serge Pauwels. "I was in the room with him. He was very good to me. He said he also travels to Australia for the Tour Down Under and would take me under his protection."

Julian Alaphilippe wins Stage 7 of the 2013 Tour de l'Avenir:

Ryan New President of Cycling Australia
Gerry Ryan will be the next President of Australia’s governing body following the resignation of Klaus Mueller. Ryan is the man behind the Orica-GreenEdge team and has been a sponsor of the Tour Down Under and the Herald Sun Tour through his Jayco Caravans company. Ryan is a multi-millionaire and a successful businessman and will hopefully dig Cycling Australia out of its financial problems.

Tour of Rwanda marks a return to racing for Niyonshuti
Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will line up in its final race this season when it starts the Tour of Rwanda on Sunday, 17 November. The race forms part of the UCI Africa Tour and as Africa’s first Professional Continental team, it’s of absolute importance to race on the continent says Team Principal, Douglas Ryder.

The race will see the return of Rwandan, Adrien Niyonshuti, who through illness was forced to sit out the most of the 2013 season.

“Adrien started his love for cycling in his national tour and in a week’s time he will make his comeback to racing in the same race,” Ryder said. “It is poetic and he is really looking forward to being in the peloton again, something that he has missed all year. His motivation is incredibly high, it is so nice to see him happy and healthy again and ready to race.”

The team will be sending a competitive line up to the race. Under 23 World Road Race silver medallist Louis Meintjes will be going to support Niyonshuti along with South African champion Jay Thomson. Songezo Jim and Johann van Zyl complete the all African line up.

“As an African registered team we try and support the UCI Africa Tour as much as we can,” Ryder said. “The Tour of Rwanda is also very special to the team because Adrien is from Rwanda. The team we’re sending to support and be with Adrien in the race speaks of the respect his team mates have for him. We’re excited about his return and thus we’re sending a really strong team in his comeback race in his home country.”

“I am very happy to be taking part in the race,” Niyonshuti said. “It’s a great opportunity and I am really happy that my team is sending our riders to support me in the race. I think it will be a good race for us. The team has big support behind it and it can make Rwanda more famous. There are so many people who watch the race on the side of the roads and this support will be incredible for us. It’s good for Rwandan cycling and it will be good for us if we can win this race,” he concluded.

Tour of Rwanda (Rwanda) – (November 17-24 / UCI 2.2) Adrien Niyonshuti (RWA), Johann van Zyl (RSA), Jay Thomson (RSA), Louis Meintjes (RSA), Songezo Jim (RSA).

Race information:

Prologue » Kigali › Kigali, 3.5km
Stage 1 » Kigali › Kirehe, 129.9km
Stage 2 » Rwamagana › Musanze, 151.5km
Stage 3 » Rubavu › Kinigi, 69.4km
Stage 4 » Musanze › Muhanga, 128km
Stage 5 » Muhanga › Nyamagabe, 102.4km
Stage 6 » Huye › Kigali, 125.7km
Stage 7 » Kigali › Kigali, 94.2km.

Video interview of Adrien Niyonshuti:

Thanks to Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung.

Tour de Langkawi: The Heat is Back!
If 2013 was Good, LTdL 2014 Promises to be Even Better.

Press Release:
Cast into epic battles from the start, another world-class peloton is expected for the 19th edition of Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) from February 27 to March 8, 2014, and will be kept on their toes from start to finish.

Set to cover a total distance of 1,506.5km over 10 stages, the UCI 2.HC (hors category) race featuring again as one of the biggest events on the UCI Asia Tour calendar, will also bring viewers through a myriad of breathtaking sceneries on offer in Peninsula Malaysia.

Minister of Youth and Sports YB Khairy Jamaluddin announced today that the race would be more nail biting compared to previous years.

"Not only that, we are expecting exciting competition with all leaders' jerseys possibly changing hands everyday. It will be an open race until the very end, which will definitely keep the fans excited," said Khairy.

The race starts in it's spiritual home in Langkawi with a tricky 101.1km route dotted throughout the stage. The peloton won't have it easy with five category 4 climbs throughout the stage, beginning with an ascent up Bukit Malut, just five kilometres from the start in Porto Malai.

That will be followed by a stage that begins at a new start venue, in Amanjaya, Sungai Petani, Kedah with the second stage covering 132.5km to the serene finish venue at the Taiping Lake Gardens.

In stage 3, the race will be finishing at Dataran Merdeka, which was previously the iconic last stage for previous editions of LTdL, before Terengganu came in as venue sponsor, this will give fans in Kuala Lumpur a nostalgic feeling.

Though the race features its queen stage, the climb to the summit of Genting Highlands on Stage 4, Khairy said the winner of the red king of the mountains jersey may not necessarily emerge the victor in the mountains classification with many more points on offer in the remaining six stages.

Significantly, the holder of the yellow jersey after the Genting Highlands stage will be tested in the remaining six stages, highlighted by Stage 7, a lengthy 230.1km coastal route from Kota Tinggi to Pekan, which is the second longest stage in LTdL history.

In fact the lengthy Stages 6, 7, 8 and 9 will see the peloton cover an average distance of 200km per day, with levels of fatigue playing a major role in opening up the race.

"With 22 teams on the startlist, for the sprinters' teams the favourites will also find it hard to win every flat stage, which might also not necessarily finish in bunch sprints," said Khairy.

LTdL 2014, which carries the tagline "The Heat is Back", is the sequel to last year’s ‘The Heat is on” which have help boost the impact of LTdL’s brand to the worldwide media. LTdL has been dubbed as the hottest annual race in Asia, run under immense tropical heat, with passionate cycling fans lined-up along the route, which seldom is part of the challenge in races across the continent.

“LTdL is not only known as racing under the intense heat, the hardest climb up to Genting Highlands. It is also known that the race receives the warmest welcome and support from all Malaysians. For Asian riders, LTdL is a platform to showcase their talents against the best in the world.”

"Theo Bos, Francesco Chicchi, Brian Coquard, Pierre Rolland and Andrea Guardini provided a healthy impact for the race last year. Their superstar status raised the interest of the international media about the race and last year we received increased coverage because of that,”

“For the 2014 edition I am pleased to announce that Pro Team Saxo-Tinkoff have confirmed their participation and I was told that the organizers are still in discussion with 2 more Pro Teams to add to the line-up." said Khairy.

“In 2013, LTdL reached a historical milestone with the latest collaboration with sports channel Eurosports. 10 hour Highlights of the race were broadcasted in Eurosport 1, Eurosports 2 and Eurosports Asia Pacific to more than 160 countries and along Internet TV site Cycling TV that has over a million subscribers. Looking at the statistics, this exposure will definitely help the promotion of Visit Malaysia 2014,”

YB Khairy also highlighted the fact that the UCI had also, for a fourth consecutive year, acknowledged the level of organisation by according the race an "excellent level of organisation" certificate.

In confirming that via an official letter, UCI expertise coordinator (road events) Josephine Clausen also noted that this was due to the high levels of safety during the event, along with good information provided via briefings of press motorcycle pilots and technical guides.

The LTdL received very positive remarks for safety throughout the race especially with the presence of 78 motorcycle escorts and 30 marshals on motorbikes. The organisers' reaction to flooding, with an alternative route with its profile and detailed map established overnight, also received high remarks from the UCI.

Apart from the organisation, the 18th edition also attracted an unprecedented participation of five UCI Pro Teams with the Astana, Omega Pharma-Quickstep, Garmin-Sharp, Blanco Pro Cycling and Orica-GreenEdge teams competing in the race. The 2014 edition, can be expected to see an even stronger participation from the top teams.

Also present in the launching were Ministry of Youth and Sports Deputy Minister YB Datuk Saravanan Murugan, Secretary General Datuk Jamil Bin Salleh, National Sports Council Director General Dato' Seri Zolkples Embong, Malaysian National Cycling Federation president Tuan Haji Abu Samah Abdul Wahab, state officials and tour sponsors.

Le Tour de Langkawi 2014 RACE ROUTE
Stage 1 - Thursday 27th February 2014 : Langkawi (101.1km)
Stage 2 - Friday 28th February 2014 : Sungai Petani - Taiping (132.5km)
Stage 3 - Saturday 1st March 2014 : Kampar - Kuala Lumpur (166.5km)
Stage 4 - Sunday 2nd March 2014 : MAS Subang - Genting Highlands (110.9km)
Stage 5 - Monday 3rd March 2014 : Karak - Rembau (139.3km)
Stage 6 - Tuesday 4th March 2014 : Melaka - Pontian Kechil (199.1km)
Stage 7 - Wednesday 5th March 2014 : Kota Tinggi - Pekan (230.1km)
Stage 8 - Thursday 6th March 2014 : Kuantan - Marang (202.6km)
Stage 9 - Friday 7th March 2014 : Bandar Permaisuri - Kuala Terengganu (109.7km)
Stage 10 - Saturday 8th March 2014 : Tasik Kenyir - Kuala Terenganu Loop (114.7km)
TOTAL DISTANCE : 1506.5km.


Route Summary:
Stage 1 - Thursday 27th February 2014 : Langkawi (101.1km)
The 19th edition of LTdL kicks off with its shortest stage, but a tricky one with as many as five category 4 climbs dotted through the new route on the race's legendary birthplace. This will, however, be a new route which has never been used in the 10 times that the LTdL had previously started in Langkawi. The action is expected to begin right from the official start in Porto Malai, with the first of the five climbs coming just five kilometres into the stage at Bukit Malut.

Stage 2 - Friday 28th February 2014 : Sungai Petani - Taiping (132.5km)
The stage begins at a new start venue at Amanjaya, Sungai Petani and will go through Kuala Ketil, Merbau Pulas, Mahang and Selama, with one category 4 climb marked at Bukit Batam after 71.8km. The stage finish is set in the serene and picturesque Taiping Lake Gardens.

Stage 3 - Saturday 1st March 2014 : Kampar - Kuala Lumpur (166.5km)
This will be the stage where the serious action begins with a tricky undulating route at the beginning as the peloton starts from Kampar, going through Tapah, Bidor, Sungkai and Tanjung Malim. Two category 4 climbs are available at Trolak and Selayang, while a exciting finish at Dataran Merdeka awaits those challenging for victory.

Stage 4 - Sunday 2nd March 2014 : MAS Subang - Genting Highlands (110.9km)
The tour's famous queen stage this time is launched from yet another new start venue, at the Malaysia Airlines centre in Subang and will take the peloton through Puncak Alam, Merbau Sempak, Paya Jaras, Sungai Buloh, Kepong, Gombak and Genting Sempah before the crushing climb up to the summit of Genting Highlands with a new finish area awaiting at the Mushroom Farm.

Stage 5 - Monday 3rd March 2014 : Karak - Rembau (139.3km)
Marked as a flat stage for recovery after the tough climb up Genting a day earlier, this stage does see two category 3 climbs near the end at Senaling and Rembau. Nevertheless a bunch sprint is expected.

Stage 6 - Tuesday 4th March 2014 : Melaka - Pontian Kechil (199.1km)
This will be the beginning of a hectic four days where the peloton covers an average of 200km per day. Covering the length of Johor's West coast after the start from the historic city of Melaka, the peloton will also negotiate two categoried climbs and three intermediate sprints before the finish.

Stage 7 - Wednesday 5th March 2014 : Kota Tinggi - Pekan (230.1km)
After covering the length of Johor's West coast the previous day, the riders will need to ride through the longest stage of the Tour, the race moves East with some strong coastal winds from the start in Kota Tinggi, through Jemaluang, Mersing, Endau and Kuala Rompin expected to provide a different obstacle, as some tired legs are put under more pressure.

Stage 8 - Thursday 6th March 2014 : Kuantan - Marang (202.6km)
Another flat, lengthy stage with coastal winds providing the challenge from the elements. The stage closes with a fast descent 500 metres to the finish, which could spoil the chances for a bunch sprint.

Stage 9 - Friday 7th March 2014 : Bandar Permaisuri - Kuala Terengganu (109.7km)
Yet another new start venue in Bandar Permaisuri and the stage offers a last chance for those fighting for the mountains classification with the final two category 4 climbs on offer in Sungai Tong and Kampung Teris. Otherwise this will be expected to be a stage that ends with a bunch sprint.

Stage 10 - Saturday 8th March 2014 : Tasik Kenyir - Kuala Terenganu Loop (114.7km)
The 19th edition of LTdL again ends with the race into Kuala Terengganu with the peloton heading through Kuala Jeneris, Kampung Tayor, Kampung Batu Enam, Kampung Bukit Tunggal, Pulau Kambing and Kampung Panglima before hitting the loop around Dataran Shahbandar in Kuala Terengganu where the ceremonial finish of the tour will be staged.

Some Motivation!
If the weather has started to turn bad where you are, you might need a little motivation to get out on the bike or to do a turbo session, well this bit of video from Antoine Ulbrich might get you going:

Don’t forget to check the “NEWSWIRE” section, you can find it down the right hand side on the home page, just above the EuroTrash section. The bits of news that missed the EuroTrash deadline are in there, plus any news as-it-happens will be added there too.


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