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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion
Tuesday, October 21, 2014

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2015 Tour of California Start Cities announced

Tour of California podium history |

The 2015 Tour of California will run north to south. Stage distances, participating teams and rosters will be announced a few weeks before the race start. It's nice to see a the start of a good women's stage race being part of the California Tour. Let's hope it can grow to being more than three stages.

The 2015 Amgen Tour of California schedule:

Women's Race:

Men's Race:

Riders We Won't See in 2015

L'avenir.net published a list of riders who either so far had not signed a 2015 contract or chose to retire. They are: Andy Schleck, Jens Voigt, Karsten Kroon, Frederik Willems, Chris Horner, Olivier Kaisen, Thor Hushovd, Cadel Evans (he will ride through January 2015), David Millar, Laurent Mangel, Sébastien Hinault, Thomas Lövkvist, Blaz Jarc, Jef Louder, Ben Day, Nico Sijmens, Dimitriy Muravyev, Koldo Fernandez, Alessandro Petacchi, Nicki Sörensen, Danilo Hondo, John-Lee Augustyn, Gianni Bellini.

Also, Samuel Sanchez, Nick Nuyens, Gert Steegmans, José Gutierrez and Francisco Ventoso have not been signed for the upcoming season.

Andy Schleck

Andy Schleck in better days, riding stage 18 of the 2011 Tour de France. Photo ©Sirotti

Tinkoff-Saxo on the Japan Cup Race

2014 Japan Cup results

Tinkoff-Saxo sent me this release about the Japan Cup:

The final race on the Tinkoff-Saxo 2014 calendar, the 151.3 kilometer Japan Cup was concluded in a small group sprint where the Danish national champion, Michael Valgren finished fourth while Nathan Haas (Garmin-Sharp) was the fastest rider ahead of Edvald Boasson-Hagen (Sky).

The young Tinkoff-Saxo riders demonstrated great form during today’s final race on the undulating course in Japan. Michael Valgren finished 6th in yesterday’s criterium warm-up and today, he entered the finish line in a select group to finish fourth. Teammate, Christopher Juul-Jensen finished tenth.

DS, Philippe Mauduit comments:

"Four Japanese riders created the long-lasting breakaway of the race and they were stronger than the peloton expected. Nevertheless, they were pulled back in and in the counter move, we had Rory Sutherland, Michael Valgren, Manuele Boaro and Chris Juul. With his usual fighter instinct, Manuele made life difficult for the chasers as he launched a few fierce attacks on the final kilometers. Ultimately forfeiting, Sutherland took over the reigns of the group to set up the sprint for Valgren and he managed to finish fourth. Of course, it's always kind of frustrating being so close to the podium but I think the boys did a very good job and I'm happy to finish the season in the creative and dominant role of the race," concludes Mauduit.

Nathan Haas

Japan Cup winner Nathan Haas in this year's Amstel Gold Race. Photo ©Sirotti

And Lampre-Merida sent their news about the Japan Cup as well:

Lampre-Merida could not enrich its good tradition in Japan Cup, anyway it was able to be in the top ten of the race with two riders that will be the key cyclists of the team in the future: Conti, 6th, and Polanc 9th.

The race was selective as usual and a group of 15 athletes was leading the race in the last lap of the course (total of 153,1 km), whose members were Conti and Polanc too.

Conti tried to prolong the fantastic moment in this final part of the season, adding another success to the one he had obtained in Gp Beghelli, but in the final sprint (photo) he was 6th.

The race was won by Nathan Haas over Edvald Boasson Hagen and Grega Bole.

"Two riders in the top ten is a good balance, especially considering that many opponents were really in a good condition since they were coming from Tour of Beijing - sport director Vicino explained - We were aware that Conti and Polanc were the most competitive cyclists of our team and the race confirmed this. Conti tried to make his best in the sprint, but there were faster and more expert riders against him, despite he received a very good support by Polanc".

Japan Cup was Damiano Cunego's last race with Lampre-Merida at the end of ten seasons.

Damiano Cunego

Damiano Cunego in this year's Giro d'Italia stage 9. Photo ©Sirotti

Lampre-Merida Extends with Oliveira and Valls

Lampre-Merida sent this news:

Lampre-Merida will continue to be the proud holder of two Portuguese champion jerseys (road and time trial) thanks to the prolongation of the deal with Nelson Oliveira.

The Portuguese cyclist signed an agreement with blue-fuchsia-green team for 2015 season.

Guardian angel of Rui Costa in many races during the year, Oliveira could enrich the 2014 obtaining an amazing double in the national championship.
His season had another highlight during Ponferrada world championships, when he obtained the final 7th place in the time trial after having led the classification for long.

Twenty-five years old, pro since 2010, in his career Oliveira won two time trial Portuguese title, one national road championships and one Portuguese Under 23 time trial title.

All these results suggest that Nelson’s skills are good enough for reaching a top level thanks to a gradual improvement.

"I'm very happy to have signed the prolongation of the contract for the next year - Oliveira said - When you really enjoy to race in a team, your aim is to go on to be part of it: my ambition was to continue to be a blue-fuchsia-green cyclist, so I'm satisfied that Lampre-Merida decided I could be part of the 2015 roster.
I will work hard to accomplish my goals and the ones of the team".

Nelson Oliveira

Nelson Oliveira at this year's Tour de France. Photo ©Bettini

And this about Rafael Valls:

The 2014 season had not begun in a good way for Rafael Valls, who was forced to a stop after only three days in blue-fuchsia-green because of a fractured ribs that had been caused by a crash in Tour Down Under.

Training with intensity, the Spanish climber could react and recover fast, so he was able to live another start of his experience in Team Lampre-Merida, improving the team of the manager Copeland by a series of high level performances.

Valls was a reliable cyclist and he always completed the tasks the team assigned him, especially on the climbs: his contribution was fundamental for the victory of Rui Costa in the Tour de Suisse.

With the aim of keeping the solidity of the group of riders that are asked to support the team’s captains, Lampre-Merida strongly wanted to confirm to Valls its trust by the prolongation of the contract to 2015.

Rafael Valls Ferri was born in Cocentaina in 1987. During six seasons in pro cycling he obtained one victory in Tour de San Luis 2012 in the stage with arrival in Mirador del Potrero.

Rafael Valls

Rafael Valls forces the pace in this year's Tour of Romandie.

Ag2r-La Mondiale Signs Young German Rider

This release came from Ag2r:

Nico Denz will join the Team Ag2r-La Mondiale next August

Member of Chambery Cyclisme Formation since 2013, Nico Denz will join the Pro Cycling Team AG2R LA MONDIALE starting August 2015. The young German rider got 6 victories this year, including a stage win and the overall standings of the Tour de l’Ardèche Méridionale. He has also had experience with the professionals by taking part, for example, in thethe Polynormande, the Classic de l’Indre and the Tour du Poitou-Charentes.

Note that Nico Denz is the 19th rider from the training centre to turn pro in the team of Vincent Lavenu.

NICO DENZ

HIGHLIGHTS
2011 (U19)

2012 (U19)

2013 (U23 – Chambéry Cyclisme Formation)

2014 (U23 – Chambéry Cyclisme Formation)

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