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Cycling Racing News and Opinion
August 1, 2014

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Rider Team Signings and Transfer News

It's August 1, when riders are officially allowed by the UCI to sign new contracts and their teams are allowed to announce them. Things should be busy with several big-name riders, such as Peter Sagan and Nicolas Roche in play.

This has move has been in the air, but here's confirmation. First, the press release from Garmin-Sharp:

TEAM GARMIN-SHARP AND TEAM BMC AGREE TO UNPRECEDENTED MID-SEASON TRANSFER FOR ROHAN DENNIS
Team Garmin-Sharp rider and Commonwealth Games silver medalist Rohan Dennis will begin competing for the BMC Racing Team Monday, Aug. 4, thanks to a rare, mid-season transfer agreement.

Dennis received clearance from Team Garmin-Sharp and approval by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and the Professional Cycling Council (PCC) to join the BMC Racing Team under a contract that extends into the 2015 season. Cooperation from all parties cleared the way for the 24-year-old Australian to make the switch between the two U.S.-registered WorldTour teams.

“Rohan is a great athlete, said Jonathan Vaughters, CEO of Slipstream Sports and Team Garmin-Sharp. "He has been a solid team member and together we have achieved great success, including a stage win at year’s Tour of California and the overall win of 2013 Tour of Alberta. However, we understood his desire to work again with his former director Allan Peiper, when he was given the opportunity to do so in 2015. Rather than prolong the inevitable, we came up with a rare transfer solution that works best for Rohan and both teams. We view this move as not only a good step for the athlete and teams, but as major progress in the way the sport of cycling handles rider transfers. We wish Rohan luck in his new team.”

BMC Racing Team President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz said Dennis will make an immediate impact. "This vastly improves our ability to be competitive in races that have prologues and time trials," Ochowicz said. "Rohan will also play a leadership role in some one-day races and one-week stage races that fit his profile. We expect him to a big asset in grand tours and one-day races, too, where he will have a working role."

Dennis said he was appreciative of Vaughters not only for his time at Garmin-Sharp but also for signing off on the new opportunity. “I want to thank Jonathan Vaughters, my teammates and the staff at Garmin-Sharp for all the opportunities they gave me the past year-and-a-half,” Dennis said. “I had a lot of success with Garmin-Sharp and I’m very thankful for that.” Dennis said he is looking forward to working with Peiper again. "My first experience with professional teams was with him at the Tour Down Under when I went to Garmin-Sharp,” he said. "I think he is one of the best guys to look after me and I am looking forward to working with him as part of another great team. I am very excited for my future at the BMC Racing Team.” In keeping with BMC Racing Team policy, specific terms of his contract were not revealed.

While riding for Team Garmin-Sharp, Dennis won a stage of the Amgen Tour of California in May on the way to a runner-up finish overall. He was also runner-up overall at the Circuit de la Sarthe and finished second and third in time trials at Critérium International and the Tour de Suisse, respectively. In 2013, he won the inaugural edition of the Tour of Alberta in Canada. The second-year professional said one of his goals is to improve on his runner-up finish at the 2013 national time trial championships. "I would also like to start winning time trials in Europe and hopefully get on the podium for a tour in Europe, not just for a stage or a time trial," Dennis said. "To get a good overall position at a stage race is a huge goal of mine."

And the Rohan Dennis release from BMC:

Rohan Dennis Set To Join BMC Racing Team
 
Team Garmin-Sharp rider and Commonwealth Games silver medalist Rohan Dennis will begin competing for the BMC Racing Team Monday, Aug. 4, thanks to a rare, mid-season transfer agreement.
 
Solution For Both Teams
Dennis received clearance from Team Garmin-Sharp and approval by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and the Professional Cycling Council (PCC) to join the BMC Racing Team under a contract that extends into the 2015 season. Cooperation from all parties cleared the way for the 24-year-old Australian to make the switch between the two U.S.-registered WorldTour teams. “Rohan is a great athlete, said Jonathan Vaughters, CEO of Slipstream Sports and Team Garmin-Sharp. "He has been a solid team member and together we have achieved great success, including a stage win at year’s Tour of California and the overall win of 2013 Tour of Alberta. However, we understood his desire to work again with his former director Allan Peiper, when he was given the opportunity to do so in 2015. Rather than prolong the inevitable, we came up with a rare transfer solution that works best for Rohan and both teams. We view this move as not only a good step for the athlete and teams, but as major progress in the way the sport of cycling handles rider transfers. We wish Rohan luck in his new team.”

Work With Peiper Again
BMC Racing Team President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz said Dennis will make an immediate impact. "This vastly improves our ability to be competitive in races that have prologues and time trials," Ochowicz said. "Rohan will also play a leadership role in some one-day races and one-week stage races that fit his profile. We expect him to a big asset in grand tours and one-day races, too, where he will have a working role." Dennis said he was appreciative of Vaughters not only for his time at Garmin-Sharp but also for signing off on the new opportunity. “I want to thank Jonathan Vaughters, my teammates and the staff at Garmin-Sharp for all the opportunities they gave me the past year-and-a-half,” Dennis said. “I had a lot of success with Garmin-Sharp and I’m very thankful for that.” Dennis said he is looking forward to working with Peiper again. "My first experience with professional teams was with him at the Tour Down Under when I went to Garmin-Sharp,” he said. "I think he is one of the best guys to look after me and I am looking forward to working with him as part of another great team. I am very excited for my future at the BMC Racing Team.” In keeping with BMC Racing Team policy, specific terms of his contract were not revealed.
 
Greater Ambitions
While riding for Team Garmin-Sharp, Dennis won a stage of the Amgen Tour of California in May on the way to a runner-up finish overall. He was also runner-up overall at the Circuit de la Sarthe and finished second and third in time trials at Critérium International and the Tour de Suisse, respectively. In 2013, he won the inaugural edition of the Tour of Alberta in Canada. The second-year professional said one of his goals is to improve on his runner-up finish at the 2013 national time trial championships. "I would also like to start winning time trials in Europe and hopefully get on the podium for a tour in Europe, not just for a stage or a time trial," Dennis said. "To get a good overall position at a stage race is a huge goal of mine."


Nacer Bouhanni, FDJ's sprinter who has won eight races so far this year, is moving to Cofidis. Bouhanni wasn't given a Tour de France ride and things were a bit crowded on the team with Arnaud Démare breathing a lot of the sprinter's oxygen. Bouhanni has confirmed the move with a tweet, "It is now official, I agree for 2 years with the team @ TeamCOFIDIS." He will bring along FDJ teammate Geoffrey Soupe. Cofidis will beef up their squad by also adding Steve Chainel and Dominique Rollin (who is coming out of retirement). Bouhanni will ride the Eneco Tour and the Vuelta for FDJ.

Nacer Bouhanni

Nacer Bouhanni wins Giro d'Italia stage four. Photo ©Sirotti

Oooh. Just saw the Cofidis has also signed Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise riders Kenneth Vanbilsen (winner of this year's GP La Marseillaise) and Michael van Staeyen. and...Jonas Ahlstrand (Giant-Shimano), Stéphane Rosetto (BigMat-Auber) and Anthony Turgis (neo-pro). Several current Cofidis riders had their contracts extended: Romain Zingle, Nicolas Edet, Romain Hardy, Gert Joeaar, Daniel Navarro and Rudy Molard

According to l'Equipe, the following riders are leaving Cofidis: Jérémy Bescond, Edwig Cammaerts, Jérôme Coppel, Julien Fouchard, Egoitz Garcia, Romain Lemarchand, Christophe Le Mevel, Guillaume Levarlet, Stéphane Poulhies and Rein Taaramae.

Kenneth van Bilsesen

Kenneth Vanbilsen wins this year's GP La Marseillaise. Photo ©Sirotti

Luis Leon Sanchez (30 years old) has been riding for Caja Rural-RGA but will return to the World Tour next year in Astana's kit. Sanchez told Biciciclismo, "I am really pleased with the opportunity I have been granted by Vinokourov and Astana. Next year I hope to play the cards in the week-long tests, which have suited me, and help Nibali in the big stage races. But first I want a good Vuelta a España with Caja Rural." Previously Sanchez has ridden for some big-time squads: Liberty Seguros, Caisse d'Epargne, Rabobank and Belkin before moving on to Caja Rural for the 2014 season.

Yves Lampaert is moving on from Topsport Vlaanderen to Omega Pharma-Quick Step. Lampaert called the signing, "a dream come true." Lampaert most notably was fourth in this year's Kuurne -Brussel-Kuurne.

Lars Boom, Davide Malacarne (currently Europcar) and Diego Rosa (currently Androni Giocattoli) are also going to be Astana riders in 2015. Boom's contract with Belkin was up this year and is a particularly significant signing for the Kazakh team. His contract with Astana is good for two years.

Lars Boom

Lars Boom wins stage five of this year's Tour de France. Photo ©Sirotti

Tinkoff-Saxo has some rider signings to announce, but won't do so for a few days. I just got this press release: "Today, 1st of August, the window for announcing new contracts with riders has been opened. Tinkoff-Saxo will soon present important new riders and extensions with current riders. On the 3rd of August during Tour de Pologne and on the 7th and 9th of August during Tour of Denmark we’ll proudly present some of the most noticeable new contracts of 2014.

"With the ambition of being the strongest team in cycling, we believe that the new contracts and extensions will further boost Tinkoff-Saxo and the team's versatility."


BMC is understood to be about to make some big changes to its roster. I got this announcement from BMC today that it had just signed some young talent:

"BMC Racing Team Announces Stagiaires

"Two riders from the BMC Development Team – Belgians Dylan Teuns and Loïc Vliegen – and recent Commonwealth Games gold medalist Luke Davison of Australia will join the BMC Racing Team as stagiaires, President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz announced Friday.

"Will Gain Valuable Experience.

"Davison, 24, was a member of the winning pursuit team in Scotland last month after helping Australia win the team pursuit at the UCI track world championships in February in Colombia. In May, he won the one-day race Simac Omloop de Kempen in the Netherlands while racing for the Synergy Baku Cycling Project team. Teuns, 22, has already signed a multi-year contract with the BMC Racing Team (beginning in 2015) after winning stages of the Tour de Bretagne and Giro Valle D'Aosta and finishing runner-up in the Under 23 editions of Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. He will make his debut at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. Vliegen, 20, won the opening stage of Tryptiques Ardennais and was runner-up in pair of one-day races in Belgium in June (Flèche Ardennaise and Internationale Wielertrofee Jong Maar Moedig IWT). "All three of these riders have displayed the talent we are looking for when we evaluate young riders," Ochowicz said. 'They will gain valuable experience and get an introduction into the training and racing routines and programs that go along with being a member of the BMC Racing Team.' "


Cannondale and the Clásica San Sebastian

Tomorrow (Saturday) is the 2014 Clásica San Sebastian. I've got the start list posted (just click on the link). Cannondale is hoping that Peter Sagan will be able to exploit his Tour form. They sent me this press release:

"Less than seven days after the Tour de France, the Green Machine is ready for its next World Tour event. On Saturday, August 2, the Cannondale Pro Cycling will attend the Clásica San Sebastián, a 219 km road race with spectacular coastline views that wind through Spain's Basque Country.

"The team's main leader, three-time Tour de France green jersey winner Peter Sagan, will be among those who will seek the win. The Slovakian champion will try to leave the bad luck of the Grande Boucle behind him and instead capture his eighth success of the 2014 season.

"In addition to Sagan, Cannondale Pro Cycling will line up four other riders coming from the Tour -Alessandro De Marchi, the Tour's most aggressive rider; Maciej Bodnar; Jean-Marc Marino; and Fabio Sabatini. The two young guns Alberto Bettiol and Michel Koch as well as Paolo Longo Borghini will be also part of the team selected to support Peter Sagan.

" 'After a Grand Tour, riders are always on form," said team director Mario Scirea. 'We'll try to exploit this benefit to achieve a bold performance. The route is suited for Peter's characteristics, but we'll be prepared also for alternative solutions as for example with De Marchi. The Clásica San Sebastián is an open race with more chances to play in the finale, it's a big advantage.'"

Peter Sagan

Peter Sagan in green at the Tour. Photo ©Sirotti

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