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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary

Chris Froome explains data release delay

Chris Froome posted this on Twitter:

To address a few of the questions I've been receiving over the last couple of days:

The data being published in Esquire UK Magazine will also be submitted for publication in a scientific journal in the subsequent months. The scientists involved have gone to lengths to ensure that the correct methodology was used during both the collection of the data and its analysis have therefore taken some time. It was important that the analysis released in both the general press and scientific press be consistent as this would otherwise create confusion and more questions. As a result, the release of the initial findings has to wait until the scientists has completed their analysis and given approval that the results presented are accurate.

Orica-GreenEdge confirms 2016 team roster

This update came from the team:

ORICA-GreenEDGE has confirmed a 25-man roster that will give the Australian outfit its most well-rounded squad ever, as it embarks on a fifth season as the nation’s first and only WorldTour team.

In an active negotiation year, the construction of the 2016 team included eight omissions, ten contract extensions and seven new signings.

“We had a lot of contracts up at the conclusion of this year and as a result we have probably seen the most roster movement in the team’s history,” sport director Matt White said. “But after all is said and done, we are extremely pleased with the team we have put together and are excited for what the collective unit can produce next year.”

Team owner, Gerry Ryan OAM concurred: “We are really proud of our 2016 roster and with our WorldTour licence confirmed for our fifth year at the highest level, all is set for a fantastic season,” Ryan said. “The line-up is our most exciting to date and it shows a team that really has it all - from the most significant talent in the sport to seasoned winners."

“With our Australian DNA and one of the most international rosters in the world, we have a team that can be there in every type of race from the Australian summer to the great European Classics and the prestigious Grand Tours. I would like to thank Shayne Bannan and his team of sport directors for getting this group of guys together for ORICA-GreenEDGE and ensuring our WorldTour licence once again.”

Amongst the seven new additions are three young Australians – signed almost 12 months ago – who will step up from under-23 ranks.

After consecutive second places at the most prestigious junior race, Tour de l’Avenir, 20-year-old Robert Power and 22-year-old Jack Haig join a growing list of talented young climbers like Esteban Chaves and Adam and Simon Yates.

Their companion Alexander Edmondson (21), a former individual pursuit world champion, will follow a similar program as Michael Hepburn as the pair balance road and track commitments in an attempt to qualify for the Rio Olympic Games.

“At the heart, we are an Australian team. It’s important for us to foster the country’s best young cycling talent and we believe we have that in these three guys,” White said.

“Rob and Jack are the only Australians in history to podium at the Tour de l’Avenir and Alex has really stepped up a notch this year too, his victory at the under-23 Tour of Flanders was a particular standout and another first for an Australian rider. We are looking forward to seeing them grow and develop in our ranks for years to come.”

At the other end of the spectrum, White stressed the importance of retaining ORICA-GreenEDGE’s experience, including the team’s oldest members.

“With such a talented younger generation of riders, it’s easy for people to forget the importance of our elder statesmen but guys like Mat Hayman, Svein Tuft and Michael Albasini are amongst the first and most important to commit to,” White explained.

Svein Tuft

Svein Tuft racing in this year's Strade Bianche

“They have countless years of experience between them, and it’s crucial for us that we retain their leadership and knowledge to guide the development of those who will eventually step up to be the leaders of this team.”

Complimenting the existing experience will be that of a series of new established signings.

At 35 and 32, Spanish pair Ruben Plaza and Amets Txurruka will play major roles in the mountains, whilst Chris Juul-Jensen will draw on invaluable knowledge from his support role in Alberto Contador’s Giro d’Italia victory this year.

Similarly, Slovenian Luka Mezgec brings the knowledge of working with one of the world’s best sprinters in Marcel Kittel to the sprint train for the likes of Caleb Ewan and Magnus Cort.

“One of the main reasons for the number of changes for next year is an expansion in the team’s objectives after some breakthrough performances in 2015,” White said. “With riders like Chaves and the Yates boys really putting themselves on the world stage, it was time we supported them with further assistance in the mountains.

Adam Yates

Adam Yates racing in the 2015 Tour de France

“Likewise, Luka will add another string to our sprint train and all together we have a group of athletes that really can tackle any terrain across all race formats – one-day races, week-long Tours and Grand Tours.  Bring on 2016.”

2016 ORICA-GreenEDGE Squad:

Michael Albasini (SUI, 34) – profile, renewal
Sam Bewley (NZL, 28) – profile, renewal
Esteban Chaves (COL, 25) – profile, renewal
Magnus Cort (DEN, 22) – profile
Mitch Docker (AUS, VIC, 29) – profile, renewal
Luke Durbridge (AUS, WA, 24) – profile
Alexander Edmondson (AUS, SA, 21)
Caleb Ewan (AUS, NSW, 21) – profile
Simon Gerrans (AUS, VIC, 35) – profile
Jack Haig (AUS, VIC, 22) – signing
Mathew Hayman (AUS, NSW, 37) – profile, renewal
Michael Hepburn (AUS, QLD, 24) – profile, renewal
Damien Howson (AUS, SA, 23) – profile, renewal
Daryl Impey (RSA, 30) – profile
Chris Juul-Jensen (DEN, 26) – signing
Jens Keukeleire (BEL, 26) – profile, renewal
Michael Matthews (AUS, ACT, 25) – profile
Christian Meier (CAN, 30) – profile, renewal
Luka Mezgec (SLO, 27) – signing
Ruben Plaza (ESP, 35) – signing
Robert Power (AUS, WA, 20) – signing
Svein Tuft (CAN, 38) – profile, renewal
Amets Txurruka (ESP, 32) – signing
Adam Yates (GBR, 23) – profile
Simon Yates (GBR, 23) – profile

2016 ORICA-GreenEDGE Squad Stats:
No. of riders: 25
No. of Australians: 11
No. of internationals: 14 (2 CAN, 2 DEN, 2 ESP, 2 GBR, 1 BEL, 1 COL, 1 NZL, 1 RSA, 1 SLO, 1 SUI)
Youngest rider: Robert Power (20)
Older rider: Svein Tuft (38)
Average age: 27.2

2016 Australian Summer of Cycling Program:
Fri, 1 to Mon, 4 Jan: Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic
Wed, 6 to Sun, 10 Jan: Cycling Australia National Championships
Sun, 17 to Sun, 24 Jan: Santos Tour Down Under
Sun, 31 Jan: Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race
Wed, 3 to Sun, 7 Feb: Jayco Herald Sun Tour

Soudal re-ups for another year of team sponsorship

Here's the Lotto-Soudal press release:

The past season was the first with Soudal as main sponsor, together with Lotto. The Belgian company is the largest European independent manufacturer of sealants, adhesives and polyurethane foams for professionals and retail. Soudal is active in more than 130 countries and has 44 branches divided over all continents. Their presence in cycling began in 2013. Then the Soudal logo was visible on the side of the shorts of the riders during the Tour de France. In 2014 Soudal became cosponsor for the entire season. After an evaluation Soudal decided to become name sponsor of the team for six years, until 2020. How was this first season, with forty victories of the WorldTour team, for the new name sponsor?

Luc Thys, Director marketing and R&D Soudal: “This was of course a top year for the team, we couldn’t have wished for a better start as name sponsor. We are very proud of the team’s performances. The past season we could experience that cycling causes a lot of emotional involvement, we see that with our employees, partners and clients. We already noticed that the previous years, but not that much. The worldwide interest of the Soudal group has surprised us. In a lot of Soudal branches there is a Lotto Soudal wall with newspaper articles and other publications in the local language.”

“The team won races in different countries, from Belgium to Canada. This geographical spread is good for us as international company. Just like the fact that we owe these successes to riders of different nationalities. We would like to continue on the same path. At Soudal we are pleased that Tomasz Marczynski and Rafael Valls will join the team, as Poland and Spain are important markets for us. In Poland the brand awareness of Soudal is already big, we have more than one hundred employees and an own production. There was a crisis in the Spanish building industry the past years. During that period we maintained our position in the do-it-yourself shops and now the building sector is getting back on its feet, so that offers good perspectives.”

This year Soudal did several activations related to the team in shops and during fairs. There was a competition in cooperation with Ridley, the producer of the bikes of the Lotto Soudal team. Also the videos in which the riders tested the Soudal products were remarkable.

Luc Thys: “This first season as name sponsor didn’t cause any big evolutions, but we achieved what we wanted. During this first season we strengthened the bond between Soudal and the team, which was a first important step for us. The visibility of the brand Soudal has grown a lot, certainly in Belgium. The foreign media often focus on national riders and teams. In those countries we get publicity with victories, but also thanks to other remarkable performances. For example the fact that Adam Hansen completed thirteen Grand Tours in a row and broke the world record. Also that counts, also because Australia is an important market for us and we want to put extra attention to Adam’s achievement.”

Adam Hansen

Adam Hansen

“The name Soudal resounds in the cycling world, but we are aware of the fact that not everybody knows what we do. We are working on that, that’s a priority for us. We have taken a good start with the visibility, but need to deepen it. In the future we want to emphasize our products. This year we developed the Soudal Cycling Range in close cooperation with the mechanics of the team. In the past we already produced lubricants, so this was a logical step. But this is only an extra, it won’t become our core business.”

Now back to the sport. As indicated it was a very good season for Lotto Soudal, it was a record year with forty victories. A lot of unforgettable moments, but what stands out for Luc Thys?

Luc Thys: “The victory of André Greipel on the Champs Elysées gave me goose bumps. I was there, in Paris. The circumstances were far from perfect. It had rained so the road was slippery and André didn’t seem to be in a good position to start the sprint and we thought it was over, but still he won in an impressive manner. Also my visit to Kris Boeckmans when he was back home after his severe crash in the Vuelta, was emotional. At Soudal we were all worried about him. When I visited him and saw that he would recover, it was very reassuring.”

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