The BMC Racing Team has confirmed that it will head into the 2016 Tour de France with Australian Richie Porte and American incumbent Tejay van Garderen as co-leaders.

Speaking to US cycling publication Velonews, team boss Jim Ochowicz said the 2016 course revealed earlier this month suited both riders and that it made sense tactically to have more options on the road to deliver a winning result.

“They both have an equal advantage in terms of the race course,” Ochowicz said. “It’ll depend on some elements that we have no idea about, like the weather or something. Generally speaking, it should favor both of them equally.

“With the complexity of the race, the crashes that eliminate contenders every year. Having the ability to have a 1-2 punch puts us in a similar position as Movistar and Sky, and some other teams that we’ve been racing against.”

Ochowicz also said that he expected no personality issues from either rider despite their similar talents.

“I’m not worried. Of course there could be some disagreements from time to time, but knowing both of those guys, the staff that works with us, the communication is going to be constant.

"I don’t think we are going to be getting into places where we’ve left something behind somewhere in a different race and it’s festered something into bigger than it really is."

Sunday 1 Nov 2015

The Subaru Australian Open Criterium, in Noosa, saw Alex Edmondson, one of Australia’s big hopes for Olympic success in Rio next year, take the win in a photo finish ahead of Germany’s Michael Schweizer.

Fearing the speed of Edmondson and Schweizer there were multiple attacks, with Sam Volkers the most aggressive.

But Edmondson’s Orica-GreenEDGE teammate, Michael Hepburn, chased down the attackers to put the young South Australian in contention with three laps to go.

In a desperate lunge to the line, at more than 65kph, Schweizer celebrated, thinking he’d won, but Edmondson got the win after the race officials reviewed the photo.

“The old German got a little but excited,” Edmondson said.

“I was a bit confident but with him putting his hand up, to celebrate, I didn’t know. I just did my best and it was all in the throw at the end.”

For Schweizer the close call was bitter sweet.

“It was so close but second after a crash during the race is still a great result,” said Schweizer.

For Edmondson the win marks the beginning of a big season.

“I am just looking forward to next year especially with Rio (Olympics) but also with the new team, Orica-GreenEDGE. It’s going to be a big year,” said the triple track cycling world champion.

In the women’s race it was an emotional win for Georgia Baker, who continued her strong end to the season after tragically losing her father earlier this year to a heart attack.

“There were a couple of time I heard the commentator mention my dad so it was a bit tough out there, and I think he definitely got me through it today,” the 20-year-old said.

“And it was awesome to have my family here to support me.”

Throughout the race Emily Roper, who rode without any teammates, continually attacked in an effort to upstage the sprinters.

The High5 Dream Team, who had five riders in the race, controlled the race to set up a big bunch sprint for Baker.

With the help of last year’s winner, Kimberly Wells, providing the final lead out, Baker took the win ahead of Sarah Roy.

The promising young Tasmanian also recognised the importance of her team’s support.

“My High Five team worked really well together and put me in a really good position,” she said. “It was a great race and I’m really stoked to have won.”

Australia have won two medals on the opening day of competition at the UCI Track World Cup cycling in Colombia with Anna Meares and Stephanie Morton claiming silver and the men's team pursuit squad bronze.

World Champion Mears and sprint partner Morton took silver in the team sprint and broke an Australian record in the process.

The men's team pursuit squad of Daniel Fitter, Jackson Law, Alex Porter, Callum Scotson and Sam Welsford added bronze to the tally, finishing behind Russia and Switzerland.

In the team sprint, Nathan Hart, Jacob Schmid and Matthew Glaetzer narrowly missed a medal in fourth, finishing behind Germany, Poland and the Netherlands.

Isabella King, Alex Manly, Danielle McKinnirey, Lauren Perry and Elissa Wundersitz finished sixth in the team pursuit as Canada beat the USA with Great Britain, third.

Women's team sprint three-time world titleholder Meares joined Morton took silver in 32.588secs, behind world champions China after setting an Australian record of 32.546 seconds in qualifying earlier in the day.

Meares and Morton made a strong start in the race for gold, leading after one lap, but China proved too strong in the second 250m.

"I'm very happy with how I rode in my position and as a collective with Steph," Meares said.

"A new Australian record ... everyone loves setting a record. To take silver behind the world champions from China is nothing to be disappointed about.

"I am loving the challenge. It tells me that Gary West and his team at the Cycling Australia high performance unit in Adelaide are right on the mark for our plan and preparation for Rio and I am backing them all the way.

"It's a great start to the competitive season, reflective of a great pre-season of hard work."

Morton and Meares will turn their attention to the sprint competition.

Saturday 31 Oct 2015

 

Australia’s Bridie O'Donnell will be the next women to attempt the UCI World Hour Record, according to Cyclingnews.

The 41-year-old time trial specialist, who won the 2008 road national championship in that event, will make the attempt at the Adelaide Super-Drome during January’s Santos Tour Down Under.

The current UCI record was recently set by American Molly Shaffer Van Houweling in Mexico.

Van Houweling rode 46.273 kilometers over the 60 minutes to break the long standing record held by Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel by just 209 metres.

The Australian women’s hour record is currently held by Anna Wilson who rode 43.501 kilometres in 2000.

The International Cycling Union( UCI) has banned French rider Lloyd Mondory for four years for testing positive for EPO.

The UCI says the 33-year-old Mondory cannot race until March 2019.

The sanction is one of the first passed by the governing body's new anti-doping tribunal.

Mondory tested positive for EPO, a banned blood-boosting hormone, in an out-of-competition sample taken in February.

He had no major race wins riding for the French team Ag2r-La Mondiale since 2004.

Mondory can appeal against the ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

AG2R's Mondory tests positive for EPO
Lloyd Mondory has failed an out-of-competition test for the banned blood-booster EPO, the UCI announced, the third positive case involving his AG2r-La Mondiale team in recent years.

Friday 30 Oct 2015

Australian's Rachel Neylan and Katrin Garfoot will ride through the 2016 season after signing new contracts with Orica-AIS.

Neylan joined the team in March after claiming a silver medal at the national championships and victory at the inaugural Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and has even bigger ambitions for the upcoming season.

“I'd love to start by winning the green and gold jersey if the opportunity arose after being so close this year,” Neylan said. “The other big goal for the early season is selection for Rio Olympics, it's been a dream since I was ten, I believe it’s a tough course which would suit my abilities well.”

Garfoot narrowly missed the podium with a fourth place in the world championship time trial, finishing less than ten seconds off the gold medal. Neylan also played a pivotal role for Australia in the world championship road race as the team play their cards masterfully.

Crediting the environment for their enjoyment and success racing at the top level, Garfoot and Neylan said they were pleased to be racing with the team for another season.

“We grew together as a team this year and learned and developed a lot,” Garfoot said. “It’s a great working environment and I think it’s an advantage to work with the team I know well in such an exciting and important year.”

“The feeling of coming together as a unit winning races is something special I'd never experienced at this level before, it was a real highlight of my year,”

 

Organisers of the Launceston Cycling Festival are eager to maintain the momentum generated by Chris Froome and Richie Porte’s participation in 2014, with another star-studded line-up predicted for the Stan Siejka Cycling Classic on Sunday 6 December.

While race director Nigel Baker was tight-lipped about several big-name Australian riders rumoured to be interested in attending the criterium, he confirmed a cast of high profile teams including Orica-AIS, Drapac Pro Cycling, Avanti Racing, High5 Dream Team, CharterMason Giant Racing, GPM Stulz and Pat’s Veg Cycling would be travelling to Launceston.

“We are in discussions with several European-based Australian riders about competing in the Stan Siejka Cycling Classic, as we look to build on Chris and Richie’s 2014 visit," said Baker.

"At this stage though we have a number of great teams already committed, and will announce further participants in the coming weeks. The organising committee is looking forward to hosting another edition of the event in December, and a new criterium circuit around City Park will provide a great challenge for the riders.”

The Festival includes the Launceston round of the National Junior Track Series, a kermesse around the picturesque town of Longford on Saturday 5 December and the junior, masters, elite female and elite male criteriums on the Sunday.

The Launceston Masters Cycling Classic will feature the largest prize pool for such an event in Australia at $5000, while the elite men and women will compete for equal pools of $10000 each. Discussions are ongoing regarding television rights.

The race has developed a storied history since its inception in 2002, with past participants including Tour de France winner Cadel Evans, sprinter extraordinaire Robbie McEwen and former Australian national road champion Stuart O'Grady. Froome’s visit last year saw the British rider begin his pre-season in Tasmania, before he enjoyed an impressive 2015 season which included his second Tour de France yellow jersey.

The Sunday criterium is named in honour of Stan Siejka, a local neurosurgeon and one of the original driving forces behind the Festival, who sadly passed away after a skiing accident in 2009.

Trek Factory Racing has adopted  Australian tech startup, Today’s Plan, to provide the team’s training and analytics platform for the 2016 season.

The platform will be used by Trek Factory Racing coaches and management to prescribe training to team riders, and analyse their performance data.

The system will also provide a communications platform for the team's globally distributed staff and riders.

Today’s Plan incorporates years of cycling training knowledge into a simple, easy-to-use platform that has been developed using the latest cloud-based technologies.

The company began offering its comprehensive training system for cyclists in late 2014 and have continued to expand their coaching and analytical tools throughout 2015. Today’s Plan has become an indispensable tool to thousands of coaches and cyclists that use it on a daily basis.

 

“Performance forms the basis of a winning team, and more often than not, detailed data analysis makes the difference to being ready to win,” said Luca Guercilena, General Manager of Trek Factory Racing. “I think the partnership with Today’s Plan will move the team up to the next step; this new system will help our coaches to assist our riders in a better way and the riders will feel the benefit of it immediately. I’m really happy to have Today’s Plan on board and I’m sure Trek Factory Racing will have a fantastic 2016.”

Today’s Plan has been working with Trek Factory Racing to tailor specific elements of the platform to the team’s requirements, and will continue to work closely with the team throughout 2016. The roll-out to staff and riders has commenced and will accelerate at the team’s training camp in early December approaches.

Accessed via the web and mobile apps, Today’s Plan software integrates with nearly every device cyclists use. This includes power meters, heart rate monitors and indoor trainers from market leaders such as Garmin, Wahoo Fitness, CycleOps, SRM and many others.