Bold blocks of colour define 2018 WorldTour team kits

Long gone are the days of Johan Museeuw's colourful montage of tiles on his Mapei shorts, Mario Cipollini's zebra striped Domina Vacanze kit, or Bernard Hinault's tastefully modern Mondrian-inspired La Vie Clair jersey. The 2018 WorldTour peloton will be more like Molteni than Banesto, if the first 10 designs are any indication, with many teams favouring bold blocks of colour over eye-popping patterns.

While EF Education First-Drapac brings neon pink, a colour not seen in the WorldTour since the demise of the Lampre squad, and Movistar lightens up its blue to a hue uncomfortably close to Astana's, Quick-Step Floors deepened its blue to dark navy.

Team Sky moved from black to white, putting a vertical blue stripe down the center and riders' names prominently across the upper back.

ADVERTISEMENT
advertisement

Bora-Hansgrohe also went lighter, putting a triangular aquamarine fade on a white background below its black upper chest panel. Dimension Data swapped their black upper chest for white, moving their sponsor's green colour to the lower part of the jersey.

While Lotto-Soudal added some lively spheres on the lower back, its jersey largely retains the same theme, albeit with more white on the lower half.

AG2R La Mondiale finally shook up its angular design which has been virtually unchanged since 2011, losing the brown and blue diamonds in favour of solid horizontal panels.

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

Timmer retires from professional racing

Team Subweb rider Albert Timmer announced his retirement from racing after 11 seasons. The Dutchman has made the decision so that he can spend more time with his family and work on a new chapter of his life.

"I've had a brilliant career during my 11 years with the team and learned an incredible amount from those around me in the broadest way possible,” said Timmer. "I feel that I’ve taken the maximum out of my capabilities as an athlete and I look back hugely proud of what we have achieved together.

"This wasn't a decision that I have taken lightly, but I am certain that it is the right next step for me as a person. After a really successful year in the team, I'm really grateful to be able to end my career on a high note and look forward to taking all experiences from cycling into my next adventures. I am thankful to all support the team offered throughout my career and I will follow the team's many more successes in the future."

ADVERTISEMENT
advertisement

Timmer has been with the Sunweb set-up – it was Skil-Shimano when he joined – since he turned professional in 2007. He has ridden 11 Grand Tours, including this year’s Tour de France, and won the mountains classification at the Tour de Luxembourg in 2012. Several of his teammates took to Twitter to pay homage to Timmer, including Marcel Kittel.

"My friend & teammate for 5 years @alberttimmer finishes his career today. I started my pro career with him, we won many big races together & he is a great guy. Thanks for all your support Albi! I wish you all the best for your future," Kittel wrote.

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

Lefevere allows Kittel to wear Katusha kit to highlight UCI 'hypocrisy'

Quick-Step Floors team boss Patrick Lefevere has said that he gave Marcel Kittel permission to wear Katusha-Alpecin’s 2018 kit at their team presentation in Mallorca on Saturday. The Belgian said that he did it to show the hypocrisy of the current UCI system.

After two years on Lefevere’s squad, Kittel decided to move to Katusha-Alpecin for next season after it became clear that he might have to make way for Fernando Gaviria at the Tour de France. Kittel is at his new team’s training camp in Mallorca but is still technically under contract with Quick-Step Floors until December 31, due to the way that UCI contracts are done.

Riders moving teams are usually barred from wearing any kit or riding a bike from their new team before the start of the new year. If they break this rule, they can be docked pay by the team they are leaving. In the past, some riders have been banned from even appearing in training camp photos with their new teams, but Lefevere chose to allow Kittel to break with this tradition.

ADVERTISEMENT
advertisement

“I authorised him to participate to the @katushacycling photoshoot to prove the hypocrisy of the @uci_cycling system. We @quickstep_team have to pay until December 31,” Lefevere wrote on Instagram, captioning a picture of Kittel in the new Katusha-Alpecin team kit.

Kittel was not the only new signing to don the new team jersey. Nathan Haas, who is moving from Dimension Data, and Alex Dowsett, who joins from Movistar, were also on stage at the presentation in the new kit.

Katusha-Alpecin confirmed to Cyclingnews that the teams of all the new signings had allowed the riders to wear it for the team presentation. They will return to their respective Quick-Step Floors, Dimension Data and Movistar kits for the remainder of the training camp. The new additions will officially be able to wear the new team colours come January 1.

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

Majka targeting Tour de France GC in 2018

Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) has confirmed that he will once again target the Tour de France next season. Speaking after the team presentation in Germany earlier this week, Majka said that he is aiming for a career-best finish with a top-five placing.

Majka targeted the Tour de France’s general classification this season, but it ended abruptly when he crashed heavily on stage 9. The Bora-Hansgrohe rider came down on the descent of the Col de la Biche, the same stretch of road that took out Geraint Thomas and Alberto Contador. Unlike Thomas, Majka was able to finish the stage but the injuries proved too much and he pulled out on the rest day. With some better fortune, he believes he can really take on the Tour’s GC.

“The team informed me that I will be a leader in Tour. I would like to avoid bad luck,” Majka told Polish website Naszosie.pl. “If everything goes well, I am not worried about my form, because I know that I can prepare well. I hope that if the previous season was unlucky, the next one will be much better. This year I was well prepared for Tour - I'm not saying that I could fight for the win, but for the top-five for sure.”

ADVERTISEMENT
advertisement

The Tour de France organisers unveiled a very different route to previous years with an opening week that could trip up a lot of riders. Majka accepts that it is a trickier prospect than this season’s offering but he has faith in his team and will spend time looking at the cobbled stage early in the season.

“For sure it is more difficult than it was this year. For sure there will also be a selection on the stage with paved sections. However, we have a strong team, so it should be good,” explained Majka. “I plan to make a reconnaissance of the route of all paved sections after Tirreno-Adriatico. We will train there with the whole team. We were promised this because Peter [Sagan] will want to win the stage there and I will have to be in front.”

Crashing out and coming back

Majka has proved himself as a serious general classification contender with four top-10 placings in Grand Tours, including a top-five at the Giro d’Italia and third at the 2015 Vuelta a Espana. His relationship with the Tour de France has been a little more complicated with 27th at last year’s race his best ever overall finish. Away from the GC, Majka has taken two mountains classification wins and three individual stages. This year was supposed to be his first genuine attempt at the general classification until his own error put him out of the race.

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

Raim: I want to get faster in 2018

Mihkel Raim (Israel Cycling Academy) knew that he had the speed to beat a lot of guys in the peloton in a sprint finish, but the young Estonian had never considered himself a true bunch sprinter. That changed this season with a number of victories from huge groups and Raim only wants to get faster as he works on his finish for 2018.

“I knew that I could sprint, mainly in the reduced sprints where there was a hill and 14 or 15 guys in the group, but this year I had victories in massive bunch sprints so it was a big surprise for me,” Raim told Cyclingnews at the team’s recent bonding camp in Israel.

“Personally, I want to work on my sprinting so that I can get faster. This year, it wasn’t my priority to be a sprinter only. I had cobblestones and Classics and one-day races, but now it seems I can sprint also.”

ADVERTISEMENT
advertisement

The Israel Cycling Academy ventured into the unknown this season when they stepped up to Pro Continental racing. There were plenty of challenges along the way but they came away with six victories, with Raim claiming their first at the Tour de Azerbaijan in May and going on to talk half their total number. He admits that he wasn’t at his best in the opening part of the season but the win in Azerbaijan broke the duck for himself and the team.

His run of strong results meant that the team put more of his resources behind him, something that Raim wasn’t used to. It ramped up the pressure but it made Raim confident that, with continued support, he can achieve more.

“I liked it because the guys took care of me. I just had to pedal in the group and if I had to stop then they would stop with me,” Raim explained. “They brought me water and everything but then I knew that I would be alone in the last 200 metres and if I didn’t win then I would let them down. It was a big pressure but I liked the pressure.

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

Chris Froome wins Cyclingnews Rider of the Year in 2017 Reader Poll

When it comes to Cyclingnews' Rider of the Year, the voting is sometimes as much of a popularity contest as it is a reflection of a rider's results. This year, the two coincide with the selection of Team Sky's Chris Froome to the honour, who took 30 per cent of the vote. Triple world champion Peter Sagan took second place with 27 per cent of the votes and Giro d'Italia winner Tom Dumoulin rounded out the podium with 17 per cent. 

It's hard to argue against Froome winning this category, although he missed out on topping the rolling UCI rankings to Greg Van Avermaet, he cemented his place in history with back-to-back Grand Tour victories.

ADVERTISEMENT
advertisement

Froome not only became the first rider to win the Tour de France and Vuelta a España in the same year since the Spanish Grand Tour's move from April in 1995, he won two stages of the Vuelta and two bronze medals at the World Championships.

The Briton has also set himself on track to join record holders Bernard Hinault and Eddy Merckx in winning three consecutive Grand Tours when he starts the Giro d'Italia next May.

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

Katusha-Alpecin unveil 2018 team kit

The Katusha-Alpecin team unveiled its new look for the coming season at the 2018 team presentation in Mallorca, Spain today. The squad will have a splash of light blue combined with the red and white of past years for the coming season.

The team's big signing, Marcel Kittel, went against the usual rules of not appearing in his new team's jersey before January 1, being pictured in the jersey in a Twitter post by the Katusha-Alpecin squad.

ADVERTISEMENT
advertisement

Other new signings including Nathan Haas (Dimension Data), Ian Boswell (Team Sky), Alex Dowsett (Movistar) appeared on stage in their next year jerseys during the team presentation.

Katusha Alpecin has 26 riders for the 2018 season: Maxim Belkov, Jenthe Biermans, Ian Boswell, Steff Cras, Alex Dowsett, Matteo Fabbro, José Gonçalves, Nathan Haas, Marco Haller, Reto Hollenstein, Robert Kišerlovski, Marcel Kittel, Pavel Kochetkov, Viacheslav Kuznetsov, Maurits Lammertink, Tiago Machado, Tony Martin, Marco Mathis, Baptiste Planckaert, Nils Politt, Jhonatan Restrepo, Simon Špilak, Mads Würtz Schmidt, Willie Smit, Rick Zabel, Ilnur Zakarin.

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

Lappartient watching Moscon affair 'very closely'

Speaking to The Times this week, UCI president David Lappartient said he was watching the case in which FDJ's Sebastian Reichenbach accused Team Sky's Gianni Moscon of purposely causing him to crash "very closely".

Reichenbach's season ended with a pelvis fracture and broken elbow, the result of the crash at Tre Valli Varesine on October 3. FDJ blamed the wreck on "the dangerous behaviour of one of his opponents, Gianni Moscon".

Although Reichenbach subsequently filed a complaint with the Italian police and the UCI saying that Moscon deliberately ran into him on a descent, the UCI has never announced if it is investigating the complaint.

ADVERTISEMENT
advertisement

Lappartient's comments are the first from the UCI on the case, and he said such behaviour "goes completely against what the UCI stands for."

The conflict between FDJ and Moscon goes back to April when a Twitter post by Reichenbach led to Moscon being outed for hurling racial epithets at FDJ's Kevin Reza during the Tour de Romandie.

The UCI investigated the incident, but Moscon's punishment was handled internally by Team Sky, with Moscon given a six-week suspension from racing and "diversity awareness" training. The UCI Disciplinary Commission declined to add to the suspension, and his sanction was allowed to run concurrently with the internal ban.

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

Zakarin to target Tour de France GC in 2018

Ilnur Zakarin has confirmed he will target the podium at the 2018 Tour France. The 28-year-old Katusha-Alpecin leader finished fifth in the Giro d’Italia and third in the Vuelta a España this year and will return to the Tour de France for the second time in his career having won a stage in 2016.

“I’ve not decided with regards to the Giro d’Italia but for sure I’ll do the Tour de France as the GC leader,” the Russian told Cyclingnews at Katusha’s team camp in Mallorca, on Saturday.

“I might still do the Giro or the Vuelta a Espana but 2018 is going to be about targeting the Tour de France. I think I can do top-five or even the podium in July. I think that I’m ready and I’m really going to try. I’ve done the Giro and the Vuelta as the leader, and now it’s time to do the Tour.”

ADVERTISEMENT
advertisement

With new signing Marcel Kittel already confirming that he will target the Tour de France next July, the Katusha management find themselves in the delicate situation of providing both team leaders with enough support to achieve their aims. The issue becomes more acute in 2018 with Grand Tour teams cut from nine riders to eight. However, Zakarin, who has achieved his Grand Tour success in the past without the same backing as some of his rivals, believes that he can share teammates with Kittel.

“I think I’ll have three climbers for me, and there will be three riders for Marcel but the riders for the flats and the sprints can also help me in the first week of the Tour when we’re on the tight roads and the cobbles. I’ve never raced the cobbles but I’ll check those stages out after Liège-Bastogne-Liège. I think we’ve a really strong team for the team time trial, too, with Tony Martin, and Alex Dowsett. Once I saw the parcours for the Giro and the Tour I made my decision.”

Despite not having a stacked roster of GC talent in recent years, Katusha have allowed Zakarin to develop at his own pace. The Russian has cut his teeth in the Giro and in 2017 was a consistent performer throughout the season. He lost time in the opening weeks at both the Giro and the Vuelta but rallied in the second and third weeks to climb the overall standings.

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

Alberto Contador has surgery on old wrist injury

Retirement has given Alberto Contador plenty of time to do things he was unable to do as a professional rider. Without needing to worry about the forthcoming season, Contador has been able to undergo surgery on an injury that has been troubling him for some time.

“After a long time with pain, I had to go through the workshop. In a short time, like new!” he wrote on Instagram with a photo of himself with bandages on and his arm in a sling.

The former Tour de France winner went under the knife in Madrid earlier this week to reconstruct a tendon in his right wrist. The injury has been an issue for over a year after a crash during the 2016 Vuelta a España. Contador’s surgery was done by Dr Pedro Delgado (not the former professional cyclist Pedro Delgado) and took around two hours. According to reports in the Spanish press, it won’t be long before Contador is fully recovered.

ADVERTISEMENT
advertisement

Contador, who recently turned 35, retired this season after a 15-year professional career. His final competitive race was the Vuelta a España in September, where he won the final mountain stage on the Alto de l’Angliru. It wasn’t his final appearance on the bike as he headed to the Far East to ride the Japan Cup Criterium and ASO’s Shanghai Criterium.

During his career, Contador officially won seven Grand Tours after two – the 2010 Tour de France and 2011 Giro d’Italia – were stripped from his palmares after he tested positive for clenbuterol in 2010. He is one of six cyclists to have won all three Grand Tours throughout his career, with Vincenzo Nibali the only active rider to hold that honour.

In his retirement, Contador will keep in touch with cycling with his Polartec-Kometa Continental team, which will act as a development squad for Trek-Segafredo. They recently met in Tucson, Arizona for a training camp.

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

Wiggins makes rowing debut in London indoor championships

Bradley Wiggins' post-cycling career in rowing continued apace, with the retired Tour de France champion taking out 21st place in the British Indoor Championships in London today.

The 37-year-old is aiming for a start in the rowing competitions at the next Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.

It was an inauspicious start for Wiggins, who, according to the BBC, faltered at the beginning of the race because he thought he had false started. He finished the 2000m race in 6:22.5.

ADVERTISEMENT
advertisement

The winner, Adam Neill, clocked a 5:48.2.

"Huge disappointment today! Upon hearing a call in the background, I thought the race had false started so I put my oar down," Wiggins stated on Twitter. "School boy error but hey we live & learn as my plan was 6.02. Fantastic experience racing with everyone, will come back 12 months stronger next year!"

Wiggins is around 25 kilograms lighter than the indoor record holder Mo Sbihi, but hopes to put on another 10kg to try and reach the 100kg mark. When he won the Tour de France, Wiggins was 67kg.

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

Marcel Kittel's Canyon Aeroad CF SLX - Gallery

After spending the past two seasons on a Specialized, Marcel Kittel will switch to German manufacturer Canyon in 2018 following his switch to Katusha-Alpecin.

This week, Kittel has joined his new teammates at a training camp in Mallorca, Spain and Cyclingnews has had a chance to get up close and personal with the German’s new steed. Kittel will be predominantly riding the Aeroad CF SLX in 2018, Canyon’s aerodynamic offering and the favoured option for sprinters.

Kittel’s bike comes equipped with Zipp’s 454 NSW wheel, which has been modelled on the fin of a humpback whale, and Continental Competition ALX Pro Ltd tubular tyres. Selle Italia provides the saddle, Kittel’s huge power output is measured by a Quarq power meter and Wahoo Elemnt Bolt Computer. He uses a 53/39 chainring. The drivetrain is SRAM Red eTap wireless and the brakes are unmarked Dura-Ace direct mount as SRAM do not make any direct mount brakes just yet.

ADVERTISEMENT
advertisement

For ultimate aerodynamics, Kittel has gone for the Canyon H11 Aerocockpit CF and S27 Aero VCLS CF seatpost.

Flick through the gallery above to take a closer look at Marcel Kittel’s Canyon Aeroad CF SLX.

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

Peter Sagan's Specialized Tarmac wins Best New or Custom Product in 2017 Cyclignews Reader Poll

Peter Sagan’s custom painted Specialized Tarmac has been voted the Best New or Custom Product of 2017 by the Cyclingnews readers. The iridescent paintjob on his new Tarmac SL6 smashed its rivals in the category with the Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 disc groupset finishing in second place 1,406 votes behind Sagan’s bike.

Rounding out the podium was Castelli’s Body Paint 4.0 Time Trial Speed Suit, which was worn by Team Sky at the Tour de France.

Specialized unveiled the SL6 range at the start of July and Sagan had his hands on his custom model for the Tour de France, which started on that same day. Sagan’s Tarmac SL6 was combined with team issue Shimano Dura-Ace 9150 groupset, Roval CLX50 wheels and Specialized Aerofly handlebar. Not so team issue was the Zipp SL Sprint stem, which has been favoured by Sagan for some time.

ADVERTISEMENT
advertisement

Shimano launched the disc version of their flagship Dura-Ace Di2 groupset, the R9170 at the start of the year. Shimano has been producing electronic shifting and hydraulic road discs for some time, but the R9170 was the first time that they brought the two together. Team Sunweb were the first to ride it in race conditions when they debuted it at the cobbled Classics on their Giant Defy Advanced SL frames in March. Some, like Sagan, have trained on it but have not yet used the system in a race.

Team Sky’s Castelli Body Paint 4.0 Time Trial Speed Suit caused controversy at the Tour de France when they rode it to yellow in the opening time trial. FDJ’s coach Fred Grappe questioned the legitimacy of the suit, which had a textured pattern on the arms that were designed to act as a ‘vortex generator’ and smooth the airflow over the body. The team had already used the suit earlier in the season, but it was the new white colour scheme that had made it more obvious. Whatever the team’s rivals thought, the commissaires had already given it the green light, deeming that it hadn’t broken regulations surrounding the wearing of ‘non-essential’ items in time trials.

 

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

UCI urges Polish Cycling Federation to cooperate in sex abuse scandal investigation

The UCI issued a statement urging the Polish Cycling Federation to cooperate with the Polish authorities in a scandal that has threatened to tear the national federation apart.

"The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has learned from the news that there has been a recent audit reporting serious allegation of sexual misconduct towards riders as well as financial malpractice within the Polish Cycling Federation," the UCI statement read.

"With the athlete's welfare at the core of its mission, the UCI wishes to reiterate its commitment to protecting riders against abuse of any form and at all levels."

ADVERTISEMENT
advertisement

The statement reflects a letter UCI president David Lappartient sent to Polish Federation's president Dariusz Banaszek yesterday. A copy of it was made public by the federation on its website.

"I have to reiterate that the UCI wishes to shed light on the serious allegations which were recently disclosed. To date, I have not received any evidence supporting the fact that the current administration of the Polish Cycling Federation would bear no responsibility whatsoever in connection with the said allegations," Lappartient wrote, urging the federation to cooperate with the government.

An audit of the finances of the Polish federation turned up witnesses who alleged sexual and financial abuse of athletes, some minors, from a former upper-level federation employee. The allegations were leaked to the media by a former board member.

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

Astana remember Scarponi during team presentation in Kazakhstan

The Astana team has held its official presentation in Kazakhstan, revealing its new jersey, 30-rider 2018 roster and also remembering Michele Scarponi, who died tragically in a training accident just before the Giro d’Italia. Next year will be Astana’s 13th season in the men’s peloton. Astana also has a women’s team.

For the new the season the team explained that the Astana name will represent a single national sports brand that brings together the best professional clubs of the country and the Astana team.

Astana had to accept Fabio Aru’s decision leave for UAE Team Emirates, despite threatening legal action, but signed six new riders, including Omar Fraile (from Dimension Data), Jan Hirt (CCC Sprandi), Canada’s Hugo Houle (AG2R La Mondiale), Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac) and Magnus Cort Nielsen (Orica-Scott). The Danish sprinter was the only rider absent from the presentation after recently fracturing his collarbone during training.

ADVERTISEMENT
advertisement

While other teams have cut their roster following the reduction in team sizes for races, Astana has kept a 30-rider roster. Team leaders include Jakob Fuglsang and Miguel Angel Lopez, who will lead Astana in the Grand Tours, Alexey Lutsenko, Michael Valgren, Dario Cataldo and Tanel Kangert.

Astana won 18 races in 2017. Fuglsang won the Criterium du Dauphine and Aru won a stage and wore the yellow jersey at the Tour de France. However, the team was hit hard by the death of Scarponi just a few days after he won the opening stage at the Tour of the Alps and as he was preparing to lead the team at the Giro d’Italia.

“There is no a secret for anyone, that the last season was a tough one for our team. Not only because of big changes at the start of 2017, injuries and bad luck, but, first of all, because of a huge loss. We lost Michele Scarponi and he will always be in our hearts,” team manager Alexander Vinokourov said after a moving video tribute was shown to remember Scarponi.

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com







Copyright © 2017  Paceline Cyclery