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10:00am - Mathieu van der Poel assault conviction overturned
10:07am - Miguel Ángel López dropped by Astana
10:19am - Pinarello put up for sale
12:39pm - Joe Biden back on his bike
12:57pm - Le Col bring in further private equity investment
13:17pm - Israel-Premier Tech react to WorldTour relegation
15:05pm - Lotto-Soudal looking ahead to WorldTour races despite ProTeam status
15:45pm - Uno-X say they won't sign Mark Cavendish
16:05pm - Pierre Rolland retires
16:56pm - Audrey Cordon-Ragot part of new Zaaf Cycling Team project
Mathieu van der Poel assault conviction overturned
Classics star Mathieu van der Poel has had his conviction for assault overturned by a court in Australia.
The Dutchman was arrested on the night before the men’s World Championship road race in September following an altercation with two young girls in his hotel in the early hours.
The pair had been repeatedly knocking on his door and when he confronted them he grabbed one and pushed the other.
Van der Poel was later fined $1,000 for pushing one of the girls and $500 for physically confronting the other.
But following an appeal at Sydney Downing Centre District Court on Tuesday the convictions were overturned.
The tour of Flanders champion was excused from appearing in court himself but his lawyer Michael Bowe told ABC news it was “a very good outcome”.
He said: "No-one wants to carry a conviction forward for the rest of your life when you're of very good character," he said.
"In my view, the convictions shouldn't have been made, which was supported by the District Court."
Bowe said he’d argued that the damage to van der Poel’s career from his inability to fully contest the World Championships after a disrupted night’s sleep and a lot of stress had been punishment enough.
Miguel Ángel López dropped over ongoing doping investigation
Astana Qazaqstan rider Miguel Ángel López has had his contract terminated over an ongoing anti-doping investigation in Spain.
In a brief statement the team said it had “discovered new elements” showing a “probable connection” between the Colombian and controversial doctor Dr Marcos Maynar.
Maynar, a Professor at the University of Extremadura, is at the centre of an ongoing investigation by Spanish authorities into alleged drug trafficking and money laundering.
López was suspended by his team in July after Spanish media source Ciclo 21 (opens in new tab) reported he was intercepted by agents from the Central Operation Unit (UCO), part of the Guardia Civil, at Madrid-Barajas airport after arriving on a flight from Colombia.
The rider released a statement which said the termination of his contract was "absolutely unjustified", and that he would counter the decision in court. Read a full report here.
Pinarello up for sale
Italian bike brand Pinarello is set to be put up for sale, according to reports.
The marque is being put up for sale by the private equity firm L Catterton that acquired a majority stake in it in 2016.
Business news source Unquote reports that investment bank Houlihan Lokey is set to advise on a deal to sell the brand in the new year. The Accell group, which includes the Lapierre, Raleigh and Ghost bike brands, are among those reported to be interested.
Pinarello has benefited from a strong relationship with Ineos Grenadiers and its predecessor Team Sky over the last decade in which its bikes have been ridden to Tour de France victory on seven occasions .
Most recently the brand designed a highly innovative bike for Filippo Ganna's hour record ride.
The brand has reportedly seen revenue nearly double from €50 million to €90 million in the last five years.
Vittoria bring in private equity investment
The Italian tyre manufacturer Vittora has announced that private equity investors Telemos Capital has signed a binding agreement to acquire a majority stake.
The news, reported by Cycling Industry News (opens in new tab) on Monday means Telemos will invest alongside Vittoria’s senior management team and Wise Equity to advance the company worldwide.
The investment will see Vittoria accelerate its plans for international expansion and further development of its products, services and channels.
Philippe Jacobs, the executive chairman of Telemos, said: "We feel privileged to be the new owners of such a storied brand and are excited about the prospects in front of us, as we join forces with the Vittoria team."
Here's what we thought of the new Corsa tyre with a nylon casing called the Corsa N.EXT that is designed to go head to head - or tread to tread - with Continental’s Grand Prix 5000 and Schwalbe’s Pro One TLE.
Road cycling in the cold snap - it's snow joke
A London borough attracted opprobrium over the weekend for warning residents to walk or take public transport over cycling during snowy conditions.
Southwark Council tweeted on Friday: "Given the cold weather alert over the next few days, we're appealing to cyclists to be safe and think about taking public transport or walking instead, just until the roads and cycleways are clear of ice."
Now, the snow might have almost disappeared from the streets of the capital, but there is still a white carpet over much of the UK, and the possibility of black ice as well, it is a time to be cautious while cycling.
Simon Munk from the London Cycling Campaign said: "While a lot of people don't feel comfortable cycling in snowy conditions, lots of people are still out cycling. If London had a truly coherent network of cycle routes that were cleared as a priority, as with many European cities, we'd see far more people cycling in all weathers too."
This is all true, but people should certainly be careful about taking their road bikes out at the moment - the bigger the tyre, the better in snowy or icy conditions. Our own Tom Thewlis had a bit of a fall on Sunday on black ice, so maybe it's time for the gravel or mountain bike over your road machine.
Joe Biden gets back on his bike
Six months after his ill-timed tumble off his bike, Joe Biden was pictured getting on a child's bike at a Toys for Tots event in Virginia on Monday.
In June the US President fell off his bike thanks to trouble with toe clips, but got back in the saddle for a ride in August. Now, he looked a bit out of place on a children's bike that was being given away for charity, but it's good to see him back on two wheels.
MailOnline (opens in new tab) has the pictures, we have a long read on why toe clips should not be on bikes for beginners.
Happy birthday Mikel Landa
Happy birthday to Mikel Landa, who turns 33 today. The Spaniard has twice finished third at the Giro d'Italia, including in 2022, but will he manage to go one better at a Grand Tour next year?
He has at least one more year on his contract with Bahrain-Victorious, where he'll be dovetailing with Damiano Caruso and Jack Haig for general classification leadership roles again.
What's your favourite Landa memory?
Le Col gains more investment from private equity
It is a busy day for bike business news. First Pinarello were put up for sale, then we reported that Vittoria were getting investment from a private equity company, now Le Col are also getting more investment.
The British cycling clothing firm were already involved with Puma Private Equity, but the investment company has put a further £5.5 million in.
Yanto Barker, the founder of Le Col, said on Tuesday: “Le Col has always been agile and fleet of foot – constantly exploring new ways of doing things. This is a key business strength and one that has allowed us to accelerate our growth in recent times.
“It is clear from what we are seeing across our core markets that the economic climate has taken a remarkable turn with pressure coming from general inflation, interest rate increases and high energy prices. We need to ensure our business is in a strong position to enable us to weather such changes.”
Israel-Premier Tech are "determined" to return to WorldTour, after relegation
Yesterday the UCI announced the makeup of the WorldTour for next year, which confirmed the relegation of Israel-Premier Tech to the level of ProTeam among other changes.
This morning, the Israeli squad released a statement saying that while they were "disappointed" with the decision, they would "continue to fight for victories at the biggest races in the calendar". In effect, they accept the ruling, despite murmurs earlier in the year that there might be legal action if this event came to pass.
As a result, it means that this is a ProTeam with a lot of top riders, even if a few are on the wrong side of 35. Chris Froome, Michael Woods, Jakob Fuglsang and Giacomo Nizzolo will all likely race in the second tier next year, as well as Flèche Wallonne winner Dylan Teuns.
With the collapse of the B&B Hotels-KTM project, there basically is a Tour de France wildcard spot up for grabs this year, which Israel might think they are in with a good chance of grabbing.
The statement from the team reads: "Israel-Premier Tech acknowledges yesterday's decision from the UCI to register the team as a ProTeam in 2023. Naturally, we are disappointed, considering the disruptions caused by the Covid pandemic these past three seasons, which hit our team very hard.
"Nevertheless, IPT will continue to fight for victories at the biggest races in the cycling calendar. We are determined to return to the WorldTour, and in the meantime, will continue to race with the motivation and resilience that saw the team win two stages at this year's Tour de France.
"We are proud of our riders and staff and the strength of our organization, and are approaching the coming season with enthusiasm and confident in our ability to keep on performing and winning."
Earlier I wrote about the perils of cycling in the snow, as well as one London borough's odd advice about avoiding your bike during the snow.
Another thing that the snow and ice has allowed us to do is to see where cycling and active travel stand in the priorities. One person in Cambridge tweeted this photo earlier of a road gritted but the cycle lane that runs parallel remaining iced up; hardly a glowing endorsement of sustainable travel.
This lack of priority given to cycling was also spotted by a correspondent in Gloucestershire.
This morning. Road gritted. Major cycle route was just sheet ice. In the City with highest UK modal share for cycling. We are so far from taking active travel seriously as a mode of transport. pic.twitter.com/vzrFPhVWh2December 13, 2022
36 hrs after snow, Gloucestershire's one major piece of cycle infra (which it's spent >£30 million on to date) looked like this, next to a clear, fast 40mph road. I struggle to accept any rhetoric that they're prioritising walking & cycling when this is the on the ground reality. pic.twitter.com/KcrDA12DVBDecember 13, 2022
Others used the cold snap to take a close look at how much of the roads were actually being used by motor vehicles, and could possibly be given over to walking or cycling.
SNOW - time to go out and establish how much narrower our roads actually ought to be. https://t.co/bqnW2SvAsNDecember 11, 2022
Lotto-Soudal comforts itself with thought of Tour de France
Just like Israel-Premier Tech, Lotto-Soudal faced the ignominy of relegation from the WorldTour, although they do sound chirpier about it than their fellow new ProTeam squad.
This might be because they still gain access as a wildcard team to all the WorldTour races this year, should they wish to. They will be known as Lotto Dstny next year as Soudal jump ship to Belgian rivals Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl. It's not confusing at all!
A statement from the team's sports manager Kurt Van de Wouwer reads: "We have of course been preparing for the 2023 season for a while now. With Dstny coming on board as the new co-titles ponsor of the team, 2023 marks a new start in any case.
"We used that momentum to challenge ourselves in all areas. In 2023 we will invest even more in our performance department and Development Team. Thanks to the good results in the 2022 season, we have the certainty that we will again be present in all major races in 2023: the Tour de France, Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix and all other races on the highest level in which our riders want to show themselves.
"Our 26-riders roster consists of a good mix of young talent and riders who have proven themselves for years at the highest level. I have all the confidence that they will fight for victory on all fronts on behalf of Lotto Dstny next season."
Riding for the ProTeam next year are Caleb Ewan and Arnaud De Lie, among others.
Mark Cavendish won't sign for Uno-X
Another team has denied they are interested in Mark Cavendish. Following others like Movistar denying they have space. Norwegian ProTeam Uno-X has said no to the Manxman.
Having left Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl and with B&B Hotels-KTM having collapsed, Cavendish is currently without a team for next year. As a result, almost every team has been asked their opinion on him joining.
Uno-X's manger, Jens Haugland, told Norway's TV2 on Monday: "There is a simple answer to this: Cavendish is a legendary cyclist who will very likely take part in next summer's Tour de France, but not for Uno-X... We have built up our entire M's team w/ a Norwegian-Danish model."
However, Peter Kennaugh, Cavendish's friend said on the Never Strays Far podcast that the rider definitely has a team for next year this week.
Tadej Pogačar wants to ride the Giro d'Italia
Cycling Weekly's Chris Marshall-Bell chatted to Tadej Pogačar at UAE-Team Emirates' team camp last week. When asked about the Giro d'Italia, the Slovenian said: "If it would be my choice, I would already have done it two years ago."
“I would really like to go to the Giro,” he added. “It’s been one of my favourite races since I was young because it’s the closest race to Slovenia, but for now the main focus is the Tour.
“Maybe after this year, after the Tour, we can see what I can still do in the next [few] years. For sure, there will be the Giro and the Vuelta again, maybe even a double Grand Tour in a year.”
Read part one of the Pogačar interview here.
Pierre Rolland retires
So, farewell Pierre Rolland. The 36-year-old Frenchman is the latest casualty of the collapse of B&B Hotels-KTM, which left him without a team for next year. He spent most of his career at French teams, with his greatest successes probably coming during his time at Europcar from 2009-2015. He later joined Cannondale and then B&B Hotels.
He won two stages of the Tour de France, one in 2011 and one the next year, and a stage of the Giro d'Italia in 2017. He also was triumphant in the youth classification at the 2011 Tour de France.
Rolland will be remembered as a breakaway king and one of the most recent great lost hopes of French cycling, as their hunt for a Grand Tour winner continues.
"I had hoped that the adventure could continue for a bit, but fate decided otherwise. Now a new chapter in my life begins. I still have many great projects," he said.
Merci pour tout. pic.twitter.com/fDeBll4rWKDecember 13, 2022
Audrey Cordon-Ragot part of new Zaaf Cycling Team project
Audrey Cordon-Ragot will ride for the new Zaaf Cycling Team after the collapse of B&B Hotels-KTM's planned women's team.
The French national champion will be joined by her countrywoman Lucie Jounier, Canadian champion Maggie Coles-Lyster, Heidi Franz, Michaela Drummond and Elizabeth Stannard.
The Spanish registered second tier team announced their 15-strong roster on Tuesday morning.
Cordon-Ragot spent four years at Trek-Segafredo before leaving to apparently lead the planned new B&B Hotels women’s team alongside Chloe Hosking and Olympic champion Anna Kiesenhofer. The latter two are still without spots in squads for next year.
The new team is based in Girona and named after the Algerian cyclist Abdel-Kader Zaaf, who participated in four Tours de France.
That's it from me for today, unless something else dramatic happens this evening. Have a good night, and try not to get too cold!
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