Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Wiggins is the big favorite for SPOTY

Last year Mark Cavendish crowned an excellent year by winning BBC Sports Personality Of The Year (SPOTY) and now it seems like cycling once again will take the prize.

Yesterday the final 12 nominees for this year’s SPOTY award were revealed and among these we find Bradley Wiggins. Wiggo has won everything he aimed at winning this year and according to the bookmakers he is now the big favorite to repeat what Cavendish accomplished last year.

Bradley Wiggins trades right now at odds 1.40 to win BBC Sports Personality Of The Year meaning that you will only win €4 Euros if you bet €10. Second favorite, according to the bookies, is Mo Farah who became the only seventh man in history to win both the 5000 meters and 10.000 meters at the Olympic Games. Third favorite is Andy Murray who won the Olympic tennis tournament and US Open this year. Farah and Murray are trading at odds 6 and 11 to win.

The winner of BBC Sports Personality Of The Year 2012 will be revealed on Sunday 16 December.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Exclusive Interview - Gianni Savio (Team Manager, Androni Giocattoli - Venezuela)

Gianni Savio.
Androni Giocattoli - Venezuela managed to win the Italian Team Championship for the second year in a row and by that secure a spot in next year’s Giro d’Italia. All in all Gianni Savio’s team won 17 races this season so naturally the Italian team manager was very satisfied with how 2012 turned out.

Gianni, first of all congratulations on winning the championship.
Thank you! It was very important to us. First of all because it’s an honor to win the Italian Championship and secondly because we now have a wild card for the Giro d’Italia next year. It’s good that we can start the next season without any stress.

I take it you are quite satisfied with this season?
Indeed! I’m very, very satisfied with this year and to be honest it will be more than difficult to repeat it next year. But of course we will try. We always have the same passion and determination, but... It will not be easy to do as well as this year.

What has been the best moment for the team this year?
I would like you point out three moments. The first one is the Giro d’Italia stage we won with Miguel Angel Rubiano. It was a fantastic day and he was even virtual maglia rosa in the last kilometer. The second moment was when Franco Pellizotti won the Italian Championship. We signed him in May just before the Giro after he had come back from a very difficult time and for him to win the Italian Champions was unbelievable, not only for his career but also for himself as a person. The last one was in Giro dell'Emilia where we secured the Italian Team Championship. There was a ‘sporting war’ going on between Androni and Colnago and luckily for us Pellizotti [ending 3rd] managed to keep Pozzovivo [ending 4th] behind him. Don’t forget that if Pozzovivo had won this race, Colnago would have won the Championship!

What about the worst moment of the season?
Hmm… Maybe the beginning of Giro di Padania. Colnago won the TTT and the day after Modolo won a stage. It really didn’t look good for our team [thinking of the Italian Championship], but we managed to finish in a very strong way. We showed a lot of character and determination by putting two riders [Chiarini & Pellizotti] on the final podium behind Nibali.

Looking ahead. How do you see your team next year?
I think we still have a very competitive team. We managed to keep most of our important riders, so next year we will be able to count on Pellizotti, Sella, Felline, Chiarini and Rubiano. I think we have a good team. Furthermore I have signed some very promising young riders such as Matteo Di Serafino and Diego Rosa who is an incredible climber. I would have liked to keep both Ferrari, Serpa and De Marchi but they all got some very good offers from the ProTour teams and with our budget we simply couldn’t match that. My philosophy has always been to be able to pay everybody on the team; riders, mechanics, soigneurs etc. etc. and therefore we couldn’t afford to keep those riders.

And a quick comment about Rujano?
Well… This year Rujano did nothing. Nothing at all. He didn’t finish the Giro and generally he didn’t do well this season. Not only on a sporting level but also on a moral level. 

In the past you have been the only manager able to get results from Rujano. Do you think he will succeed at Vacansoleil-DCM?
It’s impossible to say if he will manage to do well with his new team. Rujano is a very special person with a mind of his own and only - only, only, only - Rujano knows what Rujano will be able to do.

You have one the brightest talents in Fabio Felline on your team. What can we expect from him in 2013?
Felline is still very young and it’s important not to put any pressure on him. That being said, I still think he will have a very good season next year and I think he will be a protagonist in the classics and in the Giro d’Italia. There are many good stages for him in the Giro. In the U23 World Champions he was one of the favorites, but I don’t think the Italian team rode like a team. When I give directions to my riders before a race everybody knows their role, but in the U23 race the Italian team seemed confused. Felline was alone in the final and he had already spent too much energy on attacking. I think that with another strategy it could have turned out differently for him.

Androni Giocattoli - Venezuela just had their first team meeting of the season in Rivarolo Canavese where they were presented with the prize of winning the Italian Team Championship. The team will get together again in the middle of December [9-16] before starting the new season in Argentina with Tour de San Luis.

Even though 2012 has been a huge success for the team, Gianni Savio hasn’t given up on the idea of joining the world’s elite and upgrade to the UCI WorldTour. You can read all about this by clicking here.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

EXCLUSIVE - Gianni Savio wants to go ProTour

Gianni Savio at the Giro d'Italia 2012.
Team Manager of Androni Giocattoli, Gianni Savio, is no longer satisfied with his Italian team only being in cycling’s second division as a Pro-Continental team. The charismatic Italian plans to do what Mauro Gianetti and Joxean ‘Matxin’ Fernandez failed to accomplish last year when they went to Venezuela in order to save the crumbling GEOX team after the shoe company cancelled its sponsorship.

In the beginning of 2012, Gianni Savio -  who also acts as national coach for the Venezuelan cycling team - secured a deal with the South American government which meant the official team name in 2012 has been Androni Giocattoli - Venezuela. Building the team for 2013, Gianni Savio had to let go of three of his star riders when he couldn’t match the ProTour teams’ offers for Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale) and José Serpa and Roberto Ferrari (both Lampre) due to a small budget but if everything goes according to plan this won’t be a problem in the future.

Right now I’m negotiating with the Venezuelan government about  the chances of upgrading the team to ProTour status. We talked about it at the Olympics this summer and in January I will fly to Caracas (the Venezuelan capital) to have another meeting about the project”, Gianni Savio tells C-Cycling and adds that it will probably take a couple of years until the ProTour team will be up and running.

I think it will be difficult to have it all ready for 2014, but I hope that in 2015 it will be possible”.

You might ask yourself why Gianni Savio should be able to do what Gianneti and Matxin couldn’t. According to Savio, the answer is simple: “I know Venezuela. I know what is possible and what is not possible. They [Gianetti and Matxin] presented a project that simply wasn’t possible. I’m more realistic and that is also why I say 2015 and not 2014”.

Right now, Androni Giocattoli - Venezuela have 17 riders on contract for the next season and according to Gianni Savio the team will see a couple a new faces in the beginning of next year. “I think I will sign two or maybe three young Venezuelan riders in January. I think we have space for that”, he reveals.

In addition to the ProTour plan Gianni Savio will already lead a Venezuelan team with young riders from South America - helped out by a couple of his own riders - next year. “The Venezuelan government wants to invest in cycling and it would be good for the riders to come and try to race in Europe. I hope and think that this team will be ready next year.”, Gianni Savio explains.

A full interview with Gianni Savio will be online here on C-Cycling in the weekend. Stay tuned.

Friday, November 9, 2012

UCI letter: New anti-doping hotline

Today UCI President, Pat McQuaid, sent out a letter to all the professional riders urging them to use a new "confidential hotline" should the rider witness any doping abuse.

"We need to do more to ensure that the UCI is as accessible as possible, and in particular to you the riders, should you wish to discuss issues or concerns relating to doping", Pat McQuaid writes in the letter.

In the past I've talk with many riders stating they would never 'rat out' any team mates if they saw them using illegal drugs but hopefully things have really changed now. Cycling is once again being seen as the 'dope sport' by the public, but according to Pat McQuaid we can all "be assured that cycling will find a new path forward". I hope that he (for once) is right.

You can read the whole letter from Pat McQuaid here:

Friday, November 2, 2012

De la Fuente is running out of options

David de la Fuente wearing the polka
dot jersey in the Tour de France 2008.
David de la Fuente was one of the many riders without a team for 2012 when GEOX decided to stop their sponsorship last year and one year after de la Fuente finds himself in the same situation again.

Last year the Spanish climber managed to secure a contract with Caja Rural for this season but miscommunication and broken promises have put an end to that partnership. 

"As of today I have no team for next year", David de la Fuente tells 
C-Cycling and continues: "I have been talking with some teams but they are all already filled up for next year. The only thing I can say for sure is that I won't continue with Caja Rural. I was told I could prolong my contract, they gave me their word, but they didn't keep it and now I have to find another team."

David de la Fuente knows it won’t be easy to find a new
team but he hopes can manage as he feels that he still has something left in the tank.

"My situation is very complicated and things are generally not easy in today’s cycling but I hope there is a team who will give me a chance because I still feel I have a lot left in my legs", he assures.