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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, December 13, 2015

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

Experience is a good school. But the fees are high. - Heinrich Heine

Filippo Pozzato signs with Southeast

After three years with Pro Tour team Lampre-Merida, Filippo Pozzato has signed a two-year contract with pro continental team Southeast.

Pozzato's time with Lampre hasn't been good. The 34-year old former winner of Milano-San Remo hasn't won a race since 2013, the GP Plouay. Lampre boss Giuseppe Saronni said that Pozzato was free to seek another team.

"I have to think of riding rather than talking. The last two seasons went wrong. But if I thought I could no longer be competitive I would calmly stop racing and do something else. But here I am and perhaps motivated like never before."

Filippo Pozzato

Filippo Pozzato at the 2015 Tour of Flanders

Oleg Tinkoff to stop sponsorship after 2016

Oleg Tinkoff - the owner of the namesake team with Alberto Contador and world champion Peter Sagan on its roster will sell his team after the 2016 season.

In an interview with, Tinkoff said that there were several reasons for his wanting to leave pro cycling. First, after five years of high-end team sponsorship, his has simply met his marketing goals.

Second, he is frustrated that his calls for changing the basic business model of pro cycling with its dependence on sponsors for funding have not succeeded.

He also alluded to personal reasons which he did not want to discuss.

Oleg Tinkoff celebrating

Oleg Tinkoff celebrating Alberto Contador's 2015 Giro d'Italia win

Katusha presents 2016 racing kit

While at their training camp at Calpe, Spain, Team Katusha presented its 2016 racing kit. Quite a departure from the 2015 design.

Team Katusha

We should have no trouble picking out a Katusha rider in 2016

Lotto-Soudal presents newcomer Rafael Valls

This came from the team:

This week we’ll introduce the third newcomer, the Spanish climber Rafael Valls. The past two seasons the 28-year-old rode for Lampre-Merida. Read Rafael’s story about how it all began. Valls also underlines his ambitions for the one-week stage races.

Rafael Valls: “I started cycling twenty years ago; when I was eight I already took part in races. My older brother already competed and my father loved cycling; the love for the bike ran in the family. The first years I often finished in the top three, but I couldn’t win any race. I got my first victory when I was about eleven or twelve years old, so it took me some time. Also as a junior I animated the races and could show myself, but winning remained difficult. Although I often was close.”

Rafael Valls

Rafael Valls in the 2014 Tour of Romandie

“As a young boy I climbed a lot, in the area where I live there is no other way. In the region of Valencia the course gets tough quite soon. Also in youth races the organization heads into the mountains. Pretty soon I discovered I was good at riding uphill. For me it just comes natural.”

“When I was eighteen I realized I might become a professional cyclist. Although my first year in the U23 category was difficult, there is a huge difference between the youngest and oldest riders in those races. It was difficult for me to adjust to the rhythm. At the time I was riding together with among other Andrey Amador, Jonathan Castroviejo, Angel Madrazo and several riders of the current Caja Rural team.”

“Afterwards there were many beautiful moments. My best memory up till now is completing my first Tour de France in 2010. Entering Paris was magical, a dream come true. Those are the moments why you decided to become a cyclist and that you are happy you showed perseverance. My parents have always been important for my career, because they took me to all the races and bought my material. Also my wife has been by my side for a long time. We are together since I was fourteen years old, she’s a big support. I’m really grateful to my parents and wife.”

“First of all, I now want to get integrated in my new team as soon as possible. I really had fun at the teambuilding in November, there was a good atmosphere. Next season I want to set a new step in the stage races of one week, that’s my specialty. My climbing skills are of course very useful there, but also time trialling is a crucial factor. I want to train more on that aspect, because it’s not my strongest point. At the moment I train on the time trial bike once a week, then I do different exercises and series. I’m building up the distance week per week; first I did rides of ten kilometres, then twenty and so on. During the training camp we went to the velodrome one day to adjust our time trial position, it’s essential to strive for perfection.”

Sprint Quiz

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