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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, December 10, 2015

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

We owe a lot to Thomas Edison - if it wasn't for him, we'd be watching television by candlelight. - Milton Berle

Cult Energy will not sponsor team in 2016

Drink producer Cult Energy has surprisingly pulled out of sponsoring its namesake team. The UCI has recently renewed the squad's Pro Conti status for 2016.

Co-sponsor of the team, Stölting, is accusing Cult Energy of backing out of the sponsorship agreement because Cult doesn't have the money to fulfill its end of the agreement. Rumors are that the Cult Energy team was having trouble paying its staff and riders in a timely way in 2015.

On the other hand, Cult Energy accuses Stölting of not fulfilling its contractual obligations as the reason it's pulling out.

Velo News has speculated that this might be an opportunity for Bjarne Riis, who was recently fired from Tinkoff-Saxo, to re-enter pro cycling and is looking for a way back into high-end pro racing. Saxo Bank has said it would help fund Riis in a new cycling project.

Cult Energy

Have we seen the last of Cult Energy as a bike team sponsor?

Tinkoff team in new training kit

The team formerly known as Tinkoff-Saxo and now sponsored by Russian zillionare Oleg Tinkoff showed off its new training kit on Facebook. It has "La Datcha" printed on the chest, the name of Oleg Tinkoff's place in France. The team's official racing colors are scheduled to be shown later this December.


Oleg Tinkoff poses in front of his squad.

Here's the official team press release regarding the Datcha kit:

Building upon the success and popularity of the 2015 camo training kit, Tinkoff unveiled today the "La Datcha" kit for the 2016 season. The Sportful-produced kit made its debut on the fifth day of the team's winter training camp in Gran Canaria.

One year ago, Tinkoff-Saxo broke new ground in the sport of cycling with the introduction of the first ever training kit. Although a first in cycling, this is a standard practice in most major sports, where teams have two or even three kits, as is the case with football (home, away and third kit).

The innovative kit was immediately met with a warm reception by amateur riders around the world and was sold out, beating all expectations. In 2016, the Tinkoff training clothing will again stand out for its style as well as its BodyFit technology. Featuring all of the design excellence expected from Sportful, it is the result of the strong and close partnership with the team.

The 2016 training kit breaks away from the team's traditional colors and features a combination of black and white geometric forms. A yellow fluo stripe on the chest and back highlights the name of the kit which ties to the Russian identity of the team. "La Datcha", French for "The Dacha", refers to the traditional second homes in Russia, but also to team owner Oleg Tinkov's two Alpine chalets in the French resorts of Courchevel and Val Thorens, available for accommodation in late 2016.

According to Stefano Feltrin, Managing Director of Tinkoff, "this new kit proves that, together with Sportful, we are at the forefront in cycling apparel. We feel confident that our fans will soon be riding their bikes wearing our 2016 training colors".

“The new design is really fresh, last year’s camo was an enormous hit and as a training kit it’s very visible on the roads which helps with rider safety. This year’s is even more visible and something a little different from the rest of the teams. Of course underneath the flashy design it’s our BodyFit clothing which is the go-to kit for Tinkoff whether they are training or racing so it has all the technical details the team needs. We think this is a great way to kick off the new season in style", stated Andrea Peron, Performance Director at Sportful.

Final re-signings confirm 2016 ORICA-AIS squad

ORICA-AIS has re-signed Geelong’s Chloe McConville and young track riders Macey Stewart and Alexandra Manly to confirm a 12-women squad for the 2016 season.

McConville has recovered from illness and fought hard in her return to fitness to cement her position in the squad, whilst Stewart and Manly will again juggle track and road programs, joining their ORICA-AIS teammates later in the season.

The outfit completed its first 2016 camp last month and sent a small team to race in Launceston last weekend.

Sport director Gene Bates said the early signs are promising for a great season.

“We are really happy with the position we are in heading into Christmas,” Bates said. “Our camp was extremely successful and to come away with a win and two additional podiums with a small team in Launceston has the team approaching the 2016 season with confidence.”

“I think our aggressive racing ability will certainly continue to shine through. We have got a great group of ambitious riders this season, and riders we are confident can deliver us fire power in the finals of races.

“We have a very determined group, a little older in terms of the average age but still very young in terms of time in the pro peloton.”

With an average age of 27.9, the 2016 ORICA-AIS squad features nine re-signings, three omissions and three new signings in Loren Rowney, Annemiek van Vleuten and Tayler Wiles.

Bates said the team dynamic is already working well and is looking forward to seeing what the team can deliver next year.

“We have done a lot of homework and background work on the three new riders that will join the team and from what I’ve seen so far, they are going to be great additions to our team,” Bates said.

“We will be targeting one-day races and the shorter Tours.

“We have a huge amount of talent in the time trial and prologues which is going to set us up well for those smaller Tours and certainly a lot of fire power across the one-day races, both the cobbled classics and the more selective races.”

General manager Shayne Bannan is among those looking forward to a big year in women’s cycling.

“We are very excited about the prospects of our women’s team and management has certainly lined up a solid group of riders for next year,” Bannan said. “With the introduction of the women’s WorldTour and a full international schedule, we’re all looking forward to seeing the team being part of all the action.”

“I think there is a really good balance between some very experienced riders and some of the best new talent in the sport. We have a lot to look forward to in 2016 with ORICA-AIS.

“We are obviously very thankful for the collaboration with the AIS and Cycling Australia High Performance Unit. I would also like to use this opportunity to thank them for this great partnership.”

2016 ORICA-AIS Squad:
Gracie Elvin (AUS, ACT, 27)
Katrin Garfoot (AUS, QLD, 34)
Alexandra Manly (AUS, WA, 19)
Chloe McConville (AUS, VIC, 28)
Rachel Neylan (AUS, NSW, 33)
Loren Rowney (AUS, QLD, 27)
Sarah Roy (AUS, NSW, 29)
Amanda Spratt (AUS, NSW, 28)
Macey Stewart (AUS, TAS, 19)
Annemiek van Vleuten (NED, 33)
Tayler Wiles (USA, 26)
Lizzie Williams (AUS, VIC, 32)

2016 ORICA-AIS Squad Stats:
No. of riders: 12
No. of Australians: 10
No. of internationals: 2 (1 NED, 1 USA)
Youngest rider: Alexandra Manly (19)
Oldest rider: Katrin Garfoot (34)
Average age: 27.9

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
Sat, 16 to Tue, 19 Jan: Santos Women's Tour
Sat, 30 Jan: Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race

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