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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion
Thursday, October 16, 2014

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

Teams Look Back on 2014 Season

With the 2014 season drawing to a close, I'm starting to get press releases that review the 2014 racing season.

This from Orica-GreenEdge:

Yesterday’s Tour of Beijing finale brought to a close a successful 2014 season for Orica-GreenEdge.

At the conclusion of our third season as the first Australian professional team to race at the top of world cycling, Orica-GreenEdge finished with 35 wins, including the team’s historic 100th victory, and ranked a best ever fifth in the world.

Amongst the successes were four grand tour stage wins, 15 WorldTour victories, four leader’s jerseys, one monument and six Australian home wins. General manager Shayne Bannan said the outfit continued to punch above its weight on the world stage.

“We’re proud to have again been able to deliver an impressive number of victories right across the 2014 season and we’ve been able to compete with the best out there and that’s what we set out to do from day one. Being able to continue that development into our third year is fantastic to see,” Bannan said.

“It’s also pleasing to see the spread of the victories. Twelve different riders contributed to our 34 individual wins and a further three were involved in the team time trial win at the Giro d’Italia. It’s a real tribute to the depth of our team.”

Amidst the 35 victories this season was the team’s 100th. Simon Gerrans recorded the milestone at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec, the 34-year-old also posting the teams first ever victory at the Australian championships back in 2012.

“Celebrating a century of victories was a real highlight of this season for us,” Bannan said. “To be able to do so in just our third year is an incredible achievement.”

“Each and every rider across the years has contributed to this milestone but it does seem fitting that Simon Gerrans, who constantly delivers for us on the toughest stage, notched up number 100 to accompany the very first that he won for us also.”

Riders will now take a well-earned short break before preparing for an even bigger 2015 beginning with a jammed packed summer of cycling in Australia.

“It’s been a long year, but there isn’t much time to reminisce,” Bannan said. “We continue to be 100% committed to performing at home in Australia throughout January and early February – it is the least we can do for our local fans who, often with little sleep, support us all year long. The support we have at home means a lot to us.”

Some (of the many) highlights of ORICA-GreenEDGE’s 2014 season:

Full set of UCI-recognised Australian victories (January): Australian championships (Road Race – Simon Gerrans, Time Trial – Michael Hepburn), Tour Down Under (Simon Gerrans) and Jayco Herald Sun Tour (Simon Clarke).

Monumental Victory (April): Simon Gerrans won his second monumental classic, Liegè-Bastogne-Liège to accompany his victory in Milano-Sanremo in 2012. Considered one of the hardest races on the calendar by many Gerrans added another epic win to his impressive career after a fantastic team effort.

Pretty in Pink (May): Not shying away from the pressure, Orica-GreenEdge publically identified the Giro d’Italia opening team time trial as a huge goal for 2014. Victory saw the maglia rosa fittingly on the shoulders of 37-year-old Canadian stalwart Svein Tuft.  Handing it over to Michael Matthews on stage two, the young Australian retained the jersey until stage eight, including for a stage victory on stage six. Peter Weening continued the team’s phenomenal Giro by winning stage nine to Sestola.

First grand tour general classification consideration (August): Colombian Esteban Chaves became the first general classification rider for Orica-GreenEdge at the beginning of the 2014 Vuelta a Espana.  Exceeding expectations in the first week, a lack of racing saw the 24-year-old worn down in the latter half of the three-week Tour but not before showing plenty of promise for the future after a season where he took two impressive victories and confirming his come-back to the highest level.

A complete set of grand tour leader’s jerseys (August): A stage three victory at the Vuelta a Espana for Michael Matthews also delivered the red leader’s jersey in the final grand tour of the year. Significantly, it completed the full set for Orica-GreenEdge who also claimed the Tour de France yellow jersey in 2013 (Simon Gerrans and Daryl Impey) and Giro d’Italia pink jersey earlier in 2014 (Svein Tuft and Michael Matthews).

100 team victories (September): Our 100th victory was recorded on the 12th of September, Simon Gerrans victorious at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec after recovering from a mechanical in the final 20km. Twenty riders recorded individual wins within the milestone.

Four world championship podiums (September): Orica-GreenEdge and ORICA-AIS equaled their best team time trial performances at the world championships, claiming the silver double.  On an individual note, Simon Gerrans (Australia, silver) and Emma Johansson (Sweden, bronze) also stood upon the podium.

Strong WorldTour rankings (October): A strong finish to the season in China saw Orica-GreenEdge climb to fifth in the WorldTour rankings, the highest the team has placed in it’s three years at the top level. Individually, Simon Gerrans finished the season as the team’s highest WorldTour ranked rider in history, finishing third behind Alejandro Valverde (MOV) and Alberto Contador (TSC).

Simon Gerren wins Liege-Bastonge-Liege

Simon Gerrans wins the 2014 Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Photo ©Sirotti

Here's Lotto-Belisol's season review:

Lotto Belisol ends the season with 29 official UCI victories. An overview.

The first Lotto Belisol rider who could triumph was André Greipel in the fourth stage of the Tour Down Under. Two days later the Gorilla won again, in the final stage. By March, Lotto Belisol had six victories. Kenny Dehaes then added the Tour of Drenthe and Nokere Koerse to the list.

The victory in the World Ports Classic was the first of a series of four for André Greipel. One was remarkable, the one in the final stage of the Tour de Luxembourg where he finished solo. That was the first time ever. Greg Henderson, the lead-out man André Greipel can always rely on, won the third stage of the Ster ZLM Toer.

Lotto Belisol has two national champions in its team. At the end of June André Greipel conquered the German title for the second year in a row. In Belgium it was Jens Debusschere who could go home with the tricolour. Almost a month later he won the opening stage of the Tour de Wallonie. In July Greipel was the best in the sixth Tour stage. In the eleventh one Tony Gallopin stayed ahead of a chasing group. Two days earlier, the Frenchman had worn the yellow jersey on his national holiday.

Jonas Van Genechten gathered three UCI victories. Starting with the fourth stage in the Tour de Pologne, a WorldTour race. Between the first two victories of Van Genechten, Tim Wellens won his first race as a pro. Thanks to his victory in the sixth stage of the Eneco Tour Tim took over the leader’s jersey. He held on to it in the final stage.

In the beginning of September André Greipel won the Brussels Cycling Classic, just like in 2013. In the meantime the Vuelta had started. A few days later Lotto Belisol won a stage. For Adam Hansen the Vuelta was the tenth consecutive Grand Tour he finished. He celebrated that by winning the nineteenth Vuelta stage after a short solo.

Tuesday was the last race day for Lotto Belisol this season. Tosh Van der Sande and Greg Henderson were both close to the stage win in Beijing. A few hours later the team could still add a victory. Just like last year Jens Debusschere won the last race on the Belgian calendar, the Nationale Sluitingsprijs in Putte-Kapellen, the 29th official victory of the season for Lotto Belisol.

Victories 2014
24/01 - Tour Down Under (WorldTour) Stage 4: André Greipel
26/01 - Tour Down Under (WorldTour) Stage 6: André Greipel
13/02 - Tour of Qatar (Asia Tour 2.HC) Stage 5: André Greipel
18/02 - Tour of Oman (Asia Tour 2.HC) Stage 1: André Greipel
20/02 - Tour of Oman (Asia Tour 2.HC) Stage 3: André Greipel
23/02 - Tour of Oman (Asia Tour 2.HC) Stage 6: André Greipel
15/03 - Ronde van Drenthe (Europe Tour 1.1): Kenny Dehaes
19/03 - Nokere Koerse (Europe Tour 1.1.): Kenny Dehaes
24/05 - World Ports Classic (Europe Tour 2.1.) Stage 1: André Greipel
31/05 - Baloise Belgium Tour (Europe Tour 2.HC) Stage 4: André Greipel
05/06 - Tour de Luxembourg (Europe Tour 2.HC) Stage 1: André Greipel
08/06 - Tour de Luxembourg (Europe Tour 2.HC) Stage 4: André Greipel
20/06 - Ster ZLM Toer (Europe Tour 2.1) Stage 3: Greg Henderson
22/06 - Ster ZLM Toer (Europe Tour 2.1) Stage 5: André Greipel
29/06 – Belgisch Kampioenschap (1.1) : Jens Debusschere
29/06 - Duits Kampioenschap (1.1): André Greipel
10/07 - Tour de France (WorldTour) Stage 6: André Greipel
16/07 - Tour de France (WorldTour) Stage 11: Tony Gallopin
26/07 - Tour de Wallonie (Europe Tour 2.HC) Stage 1: Jens Debusschere
06/08 - Ronde van Polen (WorldTour) Stage 4: Jonas Van Genechten
16/08 - Eneco Tour (WorldTour) Stage 6: Tim Wellens
17/08 - Eneco Tour (WorldTour) Overall classification: Tim Wellens
27/08 - Druivenkoers Overijse (Europe Tour 1.1): Jonas Van Genechten
06/09 - Brussels Cycling Classic (Europe Tour 1.HC): André Greipel
07/09 - GP de Fourmies (Europe Tour 1.HC): Jonas Van Genechten
12/09 - Vuelta (WorldTour) Stage 19: Adam Hansen
14/09 - GP Jef Scherens (Europe Tour 1.1): André Greipel
03/10 - Sparkassen Münsterland Giro (Europe Tour 1.1): André Greipel
14/10 – Nationale Sluitingsprijs Putte-Kapellen (Europe Tour 1.1): Jens Debusschere

Kermesses and criteriums
03/06 - Gullegem Koerse: Jonas Van Genechten
03/08 - Sparkassen Giro Bochum: Marcel Sieberg
05/08- Heist-op-den-Berg: Tony Gallopin
23/09 - Vichte: Jens Debusschere

Adam Hansen wins Vuelta stage 19

Adam Hansen wins the 2014 Vuelta a España 19th stage. Photo ©Sirotti

Plus this also came from Lotto-Belisol:

Lotto Belisol has ridden its last race of the season. Let’s take a look at some figures.

Yesterday it wasn’t only the last race on Belgian soil, in Putte-Kapellen, but also the last WorldTour race. That was the final stage of the Tour of Beijing. Lotto Belisol is fifteenth in the team classification, with 590 points. The team total is the sum of the five best riders of a team in the individual classification. For Lotto Belisol these are Tim Wellens (204) who is 25th, Tony Gallopin (140), Jelle Vanendert (104), Jurgen Van den Broeck (96) and André Greipel (46).

André Greipel ends the season as the rider who has the most wins of the international peloton. The German has a total of sixteen victories. That’s one more than French champion Arnaud Démare and two more than Alexander Kristoff. The first two victories he gathered at the Tour Down Under. For the second year in a row Greipel conquered the German title. In the Tour de France he was the best in stage six. On 3rd of October he rode his last race of the season and added the Münsterland Giro to his list of victories.

Andre Greipel wions 2014 Tour de fracne stage 6

André Greipel wins the 2014 Tour de France sixth stage. Photo ©Sirotti

Elia Viviani to Team Sky

The papers haven't been signed yet, but Elia Viviani will ride for the British Team Sky next year. Until now Viviani has been riding for Cannondale and he did have talks with BMC, Orica-GreenEdge and what will be Cannondale-Garmin next year. He ultimately chose Sky and says it's now just down to details, and in any case Viviani's manager is on vacation.

Elia viviani wins 2014 Coppa Bernocchi

Elia Viviani wins 2014 Coppa Bernocchi. Photo ©Sirotti

Lampre-Merida signs Young Talent

A young talented cyclist chose Lampre-Merida for his first step into the World Tour. Luka Pibernik, 20 years old from Slovenia, will join the blue-fuchsia-green team after having signed a two years agreement.

His skills as rouleur and the confidence on mixed courses gave Pibernik the opportunity to obtain in his young career (2012, 2013 2014 seasons in team Radenska, Continental Slovenian team that is directed by former Lampre's cyclist Andrej Hauptman) the 2013 Slovenian National title as pro.

In Team Lampre-Merida, he'll join Jan Polanc, who was his team mate in Radenska in 2012 season and in the first part of 2013. They'll be part of a group of young talents that will enrich the group of the team manager Brent Copeland.

"The goal for 2015 is to balance the experience and the youthness of the team roster - team manager Copeland said - Our sport directors will count on a group of young cyclists that have already demonstrated their bery interesting skills: it will be important to be able to give them the necessary chances and to allow them to improve gradually their qualities.

Pibernik is a natural talent and thanks to his firmness he has been already able to be protagonist in important races. In 2014 he could not hit top targets because of some physical vicissitudes, but he's now ready to face the next season with enthusiasm".   

Luka Pibernik

Luka Pibernik in his Team Radenska kit

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