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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, November 13, 2015

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

Alberto Contador lays out 2016 racing program

Alberto Contador has disclosed his 2016 racing program. This should be the final season for the man who has won all three Grand Tours as well as Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico, Tour of the Basque Country, Vuelta a Castilla y Leon, Route du Sud, Volta ao Algarve and Milano-Torino.

In 2015 he attempted the Giro-Tour double. He won the Giro, but was fifth in the Tour de France.

Alberto Contador

Contador wasn't able to follow up his Giro victory with a Tour win in 2015

For 2016 he has two priorities, The Tour and the Olympics. He'll start the season the way he did last year, with February's Volta ao Algarve in Portugal. In March he'll race Paris-Nice instead of Tirreno-Adriatico then move on to the Tour of California at the end of the month. April's racing will include the Tour of the Basque Country.

June's schedule includes the Dauphiné. Of course, in July Contador will be pretty busy with the Tour de France. The Olympics follow in August.

Kris Boeckmans update

Kris Boeckmans had suffered a terrible crash in the Vuelta. He had to be put in a medically induced coma for a week and then had facial surgery. He's been recovering at home and is back on his bike. Here's an update from his team, Lotto-Soudal:

On Sunday 1 November Kris Boeckmans tweeted a photo of himself on the bike, it was the first time he went out for a ride since his crash in the Vuelta. That day he did two rides of 35 minutes. Last Sunday he took his bike out for two hours.

This is a new and important step in the rehabilitation process of Kris. Lotto Soudal team doctor Servaas Bingé gives an update on the recovery and rehabilitation of Kris.

Kris Boeckmans

Kris Boeckmans when he left the hospital

Servaas Bingé: “We can be positive about the recovery of Kris, but we remain careful. Recent scans showed a very good neurological evolution. It takes time for a concussion to heal and we will need to keep monitoring it in the future. The concussion restricted him in the beginning of his rehabilitation, but Kris has less complaints now. At this moment light and sound don’t bother him anymore and the pressure on his eyes has disappeared. His lungs were examined too. We can talk about a positive evolution as well, but the lungs haven’t completely healed yet. For example his lung capacity isn’t the same as before his crash. The facial fractures, for which he underwent surgery a few weeks ago, are practically healed. Only the damaged skin and fat tissue still needs some time to heal. And Kris will get some dental corrections.”

“The rehabilitation of Kris is going well. The progress will now be slower though. In the beginning one often sees progress quickly, but the pace of progress reduces when the condition gets better. Kris now exercises every day and says he’s less tired than four weeks ago when he only went three times a week to the Sport Medical Centre ‘Nottebohm Fitlab’ in Brecht. Kris has a huge drive. He trains and works hard, taking all tips into account. Of course he still has difficult moments, but Kris notices he is rewarded for his efforts and energy and that motivates him.”

William Bonnet plans comeback

While we're reporting on riders coming back from terrible crashes, we should not forget William Bonnet (FDJ) who had a terrible fall in the third stage of the Tour de France. Among other injuries, Bonnet broke his neck in the crash. Though it is still difficult for him to turn his head, he is now swimming and running a bit and plans to resume cycle training in December.

Get well soon, William. We hope to see you in your FDJ kit racing.

Lizzie Williams & Sarah Roy return for another season with Orica-AIS

This update came from the team:

2015 debutants Lizzie Williams and Sarah Roy will return for another year having impressed in their opening seasons with ORICA-AIS. The pair signed with the Australian outfit with individual comeback stories – Williams returning to the bike after a ten-year hiatus and Roy building foundations after a plethora of injures hindered racing between 2010 and 2013.

Williams hit the ground firing, claiming a podium finish in her very first hit out at the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic on January 2 in Geelong. The 32-year-old went on to win silver at the Oceania championships and take her first professional victory at SwissEver GP Cham-Hagendorn in May – ORICA-AIS’ first European win for the season.

“This year has really been a breakthrough year for me both professionally and personally,” Williams said. “I'm not going to lie, it was a rocky start, and early in the season I realised that I had a lot of work to do. But I tackled the challenges with a positive attitude and didn't allow myself to become overwhelmed with it all.”

“During this season I learned to manage my nerves and anxiety around racing a lot better which has limited me in the past. Having a supportive and encouraging team around me is a huge reason why I've had success and seen massive growth as a professional cyclist.”

Sport director Gene Bates credited the 32-year-old's instant results and ability to learn. “We really threw Lizzie into the deep end early with some of the biggest Classics that women can do and she took it all in and we were seeing some great results from her in the last half of the season,” Bates said. “She had her first win in Hagendorn in Switzerland in late May and she has really gone from strength to strength since then. She has developed into a really strong and dependable rider for us.

“Lizzie is not 18 but she learns like a little kid. She is screaming for any advice she can get and she is really putting it to good use and that’s great to have within the group.”

Roy, the 2014 Australian criterium champion, had slower start to 2015 courtesy of illness, but made a big step up in strength later in the season – an asset enjoyed by the outfit, particularly during the world championships.

“This year was a bit of a shocker personally with the injury and illnesses because I didn't race half as much as I would have like and when I did I wasn't in great shape,” Roy said. “I had unreal support from Gene, the team and all of the girls which made it a really enjoyable year anyway. I also learned a huge amount from the preparation for the world championship TTT, which was unexpected, but has definitely made a better bike rider out of me.

“I feel very lucky to be back for another season after having one of "those" years but I'm really looking forward to next season. This is certainly my dream team; we really back each other on the bike and kill ourselves laughing off the bike.”

Bates credited Roy’s persistence to bounce back from countless setbacks. “Sarah attended the training camp and did one day of racing in January but then was out with illness and injury for a long time,” Bates explained. “It wasn’t until May/June until she really started to race with us properly again and when you miss that portion of the season it’s always a really steep learning curve to jump back into a group that has been racing for six months already.”

“To her credit, she bounced back into it and really focused on getting back to a really good level before the end of the season and she was one of our stronger contributors in the team time trial over the two month period towards the end of the season.

“Sarah really brings a big engine to the group. When she is doing lead-outs or bridging gaps, that’s when she is at her best.”

Both Williams and Roy emphasised their plans for big off-seasons and early season form.

Sarah Roy
Date of Birth: 27th February 1986 (28)
Nationality: Australian
Turned Pro: 2013

- 2014 National criterium champion - Australia

Lizzie Williams
Date of Birth: 15th August 1983 (32)
Nationality: Australian
Turned Pro: 2015

- 1st 2015 SwissEver GP Cham-Hagendorn
- 2nd 2015 Oceania Championships - Road Race

Manuele Mori re-ups with Lampre-Merida

Following Matteo Bono's extension, Lampre-Merida confirms the presence of another experienced cyclist in the 2016 roster.

Manuele Mori signed the extension of the contract and he'll race his 8th season in the team of the manager Copeland: he'll be a key rider for supporting the team's captains and for helping the young talented cyclists.

Born in 1980 in a family deeply linked to cycling (his father Primo and his brother Massimiliano both used to be pro riders), Manuele has become, in 12 seasons as pro, a skilfull athlete whose top qualities are experience and the competence in managing race situations.

Mori succeeded in winning one race, that is the Japan Cup 2007: in Japan, Mori is a cycling star and he's supported by a fan club.

Manuele Mori

Manuele Mori

"In the team roster there are many young riders and dynamic cyclists, so Mori is very important in order to balance these characteristics with his experience and his cycling competence - Brent Copeland explained - He's one of the best elements for supporting the captain and, moreover, with his morale he's so important for the team spirit".

Mori decribes his satisfaction: "I'm very happy and proud to receive once again the trust from the team. I thank the staff, the sport directors, the management and the sponsors who gave me in the past years the opportunity to race in the team and which, in 2016, will allow me to spend the 8th season wearing this amazing jersey.

Their trust in me is a prize for my full commitment in the support to the captains and to the young guns of the team. I can't wait for the new season to begin sharing with my team mates the feelings of giving honor to the blue-fuchsia-green colors all around the world".

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