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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion
Saturday, October 18, 2014

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Europcar To Sponsor Team Through 2015

The French Europcar auto rental company will sponsor the French World Tour team run by Jean-René Bernaudeau through the life of the existing contract, which goes through 2015, but not extend its sponsorship beyond next year. Europcar has sponsored the team since 2011, before which it was known as Bouygues Telecom and before that, Bonjour.

From L'Equipe: "We wanted to communicate our decision as soon as possible to the team to facilitate the search for a new partner", said Nathalie Poujol, Director of Europcar International Communication.

Europcar has some terrific riders: Thomas Voeckler, Pierre Rolland, Yukiya Arashiro, Kevin Reza, Bryan Coquard, Dan Craven, Bjorn Thurau, Jimmy Engoulvent, Vincent Jerome and other excellent talent. Let's hope Bernaudeau finds a new sponsor soon.

Europcar at the men's world championships

Europcar racing the men's team time trial at the 2014 World Road Cycling Championships. Photo ©Sirotti

Manuele Boaro on the Japan Cup

This came from Tinkoff-Saxo:

Boaro before final race: “The off-season will not be a holiday”

The season draws to a close, as the riders of Tinkoff-Saxo are getting ready to race in Japan Cup - the final event of 2014. Manuele Boaro, 27 years old, is finishing off his fourth season on the team and gives his evaluation.

“2014 has definitely been a good season for me. My stage win in Tour of Denmark was special because it came on such a hard day. One or two stage wins more would have been nice, as I’ve tried many times, especially in the breakaways. But I believe that 2015 will be even better for me. I think that when I’ve recovered, this season will help to give me more power in the final part of the races”, says Manuele Boaro.

The Italian is heading to Japan Cup together with Valgren, Kroon, Sutherland and Juul-Jensen. After that he’ll travel home to recover and prepare for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro together with the rest of the team. Last year, he spent a few weeks recovering on the beaches of the Maldives. But this year it will be different.

“This off-season will definitely not be a holiday. I will have to prepare myself for Kilimanjaro and after that we’ll have the big annual training camp, where we start building shape ahead of 2015. But I like it this way. It’s very ambitious but it’s also well managed with the sport directors giving us enough time to recover”, adds Manuele Boaro, who is looking to finish the season on a high note.

“Tour of Beijing was difficult for us, because we didn’t have any sprinter and the breakaways didn’t stand a chance. But Japan Cup is hard with a lot of hills and climbs, which will give us a more open race with different opportunities during the race. The whole team wants to end the season well, before we fix our eyes on 2015”. 

Manuele Boaro

Manuele Boaro at the 2013 Tour Down Under. Photo ©Sirotti

Jonas Van Genechten to Leave Lotto-Belisol

I Got this short press release from Lotto-Belisol:

"In 2015 Jonas Van Genechten won’t be part  of the team anymore.

"Despite the agent and rider had agreed with the conditions for a new and much improved contract, they still chose to be active for another team next year."

Van Genechten won Stage four of this year's Tour of Poland as well as the GP de Formies. Last year he was first at the GP Pino Cerami. I do not know what team van Genechten will sign for in 2015.

Jonas Van Genechten wins 2014 Tour of Poland Stage 4

Jonas van Genechten wins the 2014 Tour of Poland stage four. Photo ©Sirotti

Frederik Willems to Retire

Perhaps on a happier note, Lotto sent this release out on Frederik Willems:

Tomorrow, Saturday 18th October, Frederik Willems will ride his last race as a pro, in Sint-Jan-in-Eremo. The 35-year-old man from East-Flanders will become sports director in the Lotto Soudal team next year. At the beginning of August Willems fell at a training trip and got some severe injuries. He needed surgery of his collar bone. This forced him to rest some weeks. Since three weeks he started training  again. Just a few ribs are still causing some problems.

Frederik Willems was a pro for thirteen seasons. In 2009 he won the GC of the Three Days De Panne-Koksijde. Three years before that win he did the same in the Etoile de Bessèges. He also won four stages in several stage races. Today he reflects about his career and looks forward to what the future will bring.

Frederik Willems: “I do not regret a single thing in my career, and that is important. I can divide my career in four milestones. First of all there was my pro debut in 2002 in the Mapei team. Back in the day it was the biggest team of that moment. To sign a contract with such big team was an honour. Concerning my victories, 2006 was my best year. I had four wonderful years in the Liquigas team. Those years in the Italian team were important for me because I was raised with that mentality, under supervision of Valerio Piva. There is a familial atmosphere in Italy, the people are really sympathetic to all riders. After the Italian adventure I returned to Belgium with the Omega Pharma-Lotto team. And again a nice period had risen. When I returned to Belgium my work of the past years was appreciated.”

“One of my favourite races is the Three Days De Panne-Koksijde, because I won in 2009. Also the Flèche Brabançonne was one of my favourites because it has some typical features of Flemish races with some really challenging climbs. In 2008 I was fifth and a year later I was sixth.”

“Bad luck never really got to me. The day after a crash or operation I already looked forward. Working towards a certain goal was important. In that way I could enjoy my trainings. When a goal was reached, it obviously created a sense of satisfaction. The appreciation I got from teammates was incredibly pleasing, both with Liquigas and Lotto Belisol. Among those team mates: Pozzato, Sagan, Nibali, Roelandts and Van den Broeck.”

“Last winter I asked myself the question: “How long will I be cycling and what will I do afterwards?”. When the team offered to become sports director in 2015, it didn’t take long to decide. Becoming sports director was kind of logic in a way, because the team saw me as a road captain. It’s a big honour that the team thought of me and that the news is well received in the team. My crash in August ended my season abruptly. The race of Saturday will be a nice goodbye, because we already had a lot of preparations towards the race. I will be able to thank everyone.”

“If I had chosen to race my last one in Putte-Kapellen, it would be over when I reached the finish. Now we can make a feast of it. The moment I will get off my bike on Saturday will not be that emotional, I’m already prepared for that. The homage afterwards, with all the people who supported me, will be a different story. I want to thank all my supporters and friends. Both people from the beginning of my career and people of my current team. It is the intention to make a big feast of it and involve as many people as possible. In the morning there is a cycling tour for supporters and tourists. Afterwards there is the race and in the evening there is a party. Everyone is welcome.”



Frederik Willems

Frederik Willems at this year's Dauphiné

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