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CW Live: ASO announce new race in Middle East; Jack Thompson officially breaks Everesting World Record; jury retires to consider verdicts in Mark Cavendish robbery trial; Cyclo-cross Benidorm world cup round sold out & Tom Boonen unveils new statue

Bringing you all the news you need in cycling this Friday

Good morning! Tom Thewlis here ready to bring you all the news you need to know on this rather chilly Friday morning. 

The Tour Down Under is in full swing and this week's issue of Cycling Weekly was released in shops yesterday. Check it out for a rather brilliant interview with Ethan Hayter.

If you want to get in touch today, you can reach me via Twitter at @thewlistt or via email at tom.thewlis@futurenet.com

The weekend starts now!

KEY DEVELOPMENTS

- 09:40 -
Team Corratec boss denies links to Nairo Quintana
- 10:57 -
Biniam Girmay set for Tour de France debut
- 11:29 - Jai Hindley excited by 2023 Tour route
- 11:42 - Spanish cyclist Raul Garcia Alvarez dies after 24 years in a coma
- 12:02 - Jack Thompson officially breaks Everesting World Record
- 12:16 - Cari Higgins appointment as chairwoman of USA Cycling
-12:43 - Jurors retire to consider verdict in Mark Cavendish robbery trial
- 13:22 - Part of 2023 Criterium du Dauphine route released
- 13:32 - Brit Charlie Quarterman included for Team Corratec at Vuelta a San Juan
- 14:17 -
Julian Alaphilippe to get season underway with Challenge Mallorca
- 14:22 - Tom Boonen unveils statue of his legs in Belgium
- 14:55 - ASO unveil one-day Muscat Classic to be held in Oman
- 16:09- Gianni Moscon fractures collarbone at Tour Down Under
- 16:11 - Benidorm round of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup is sold out

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Nairo Quintana at the 2022 Tour de France

(Image credit: Tim de Waele / Getty)

Colombian superstar Nairo Quintana is still without a team for 2023 after Italian ProTeam Corratec denied any links with the out of contract climber.

A recent report from La Gazzetta dello Sport (opens in new tab) implied that Quintana might be sdet to join British rider Charlie Quarterman at the Italian team, although team boss Serge Parsani firmly denied any rumours that the former Giro d'Italia winner was about to join his squad.

Parsani explained that the team's finances along with them recently joining the Movement for Clean Cycling [MPCC] makes the prospect of signing Quintana impossible.

"We're a small team that doesn't have the financial capability to have a rider like him. It's very difficult because, at this level of sponsorship, we have no chance," Parsani said.

"At the end of December, we registered with the MPCC, who fight against problems with drugs such as tramadol," he said. "The ASO also asked us to join and at the moment it is difficult to make an agreement with Nairo."

Quintana was disqualified from the 2022 Tour de France and left Arkea-Samsic after two positive tests for Tramadol at the French Grand Tour.

"We'd need the UCI to give Nairo a hand by allowing him to join a WorldTour squad because we're all in the MPCC. Only teams who aren't in it – like Soudal-QuickStep, UAE Team Emirates, and others – would be able to sign him."

Yesterday afternoon Corratec received the news that they would be given a Wild Card for this year's Giro d'Italia along with Tirreno-Adriatico.

BINIAM GIRMAY SET FOR TOUR DE FRANCE DEBUT

Biniam Girmay

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Biniam Girmay is set to make his debut in the Tour de France next summer, according to Aike Visbeek, performance manager at Intermarche-Circus-Wanty.

Speaking to Wielerflits (opens in new tab), the Dutch coach said that nothing is fully decided when it comes to Girmay's racing schedule, although there is a strong chance that the Eritrean will ride the French Grand Tour.

“There is definitely a chance that we will be Bini in the Tour this summer,” Visbeek said. 

After a successful 2022 which saw Girmay win Gent-Wevelgem as well as land a stage victory at the Giro d'Italia, Visbeek explained that one of the team's main aims during the off season was to strengthen the support around Girmay ahead of bigger goals in 2023. 

Intermarche have now brought in Mike Teunissen and Dion Smith to help support Girmay this year.

"With Dion Smith and especially Mike Teunissen, we have made a good investment in this. I think we should be very capable of supporting Biniam. We now have more options in the classics and semi-classics. I expect that we will compete for the prizes, that is also our goal. We can't go for less either," Visbeek added. 

HINDLEY EXCITED BY TOUR DE FRANCE ROUTE

Hindley rides away from Carapaz at the Giro 2022

(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Jai Hindley has said that the inclusion of just one time trial in the 2023 Tour de France route is a "huge attraction" for him.

Last year Hindley won the Giro d'Italia, although with this year's Giro route stacked with time trialling kilometres, the Bora-Hansgrohe man has one eye on the Tour instead. 

Speaking to Cyclingnews (opens in new tab)at the Tour Down Under, Hindley explained that the Tour route is far more suited to his attributes this year.

"When I look at the route for the Tour as opposed to the Giro, I mean for sure it would be nice to go back to the Giro with the number one on the back and all that, but if I'm looking at it realistically then the Tour route is much more suited to me and maybe, might not ever be as good for me again,” he said.

“The route in terms of the climbing and the fact that there is one time trial – and it's a pretty hilly time trial – it's a big attraction and I think the team also see that as well," Hindley added.

Hindley has looked to be in impressive shape at the WorldTour season opener in Australia. The Bora rider went close to the stage victory on day two after going away on a late attack with several others.

"We were pretty committed to staying clear of the chasing group," said Hindley after that stage. "I went at the chicane section and got a bit of a gap, but ultimately I didn't have the legs to make it to the line and eventually the other guys passed me in the finale." 

CYCLIST DIES AFTER SPENDING 24 YEARS IN A COMA

Raul Alvarez

(Image credit: CEN)

According to the US Sun (opens in new tab), a Spanish cyclist who spent the last 24 years in a coma has died at the age of 42.

After a riding accident when he was a teenager, Raul Garcia Alvarez had been in a coma after suffering multiple injuries.

Aged 17, Alvarez had only just signed for pro team Venta Magullo-B Melero when he fell on a training ride while reportedly travelling at 50mph.

Reports at the time said that Alvarez careered off the road and fell five metres down an embankment. After being airlifted to a hospital in Madrid, the cyclist underwent an extensive operation but sadly, he then fell into an irreversible coma.

The riders brother told Valladollid-based newspaper El Norte de Castilla after his death: "We were with him until the last moment, and it has been hard, but he rests in peace."

JACK THOMPSON OFFICIALLY SMASHES EVERESTING WORLD RECORD

Jack Thompson

(Image credit: Jack Thompson UltraCyclist )

Jack Thompson, a professional ultra cyclist from Australia, has officially set a new world record for the most Everest challenges completed in a single year.

Thompson climbed one Everest per week for 52 weeks.

An Everest challenge in cycling is the equivalent of climbing the full elevation of Mount Everest, 8,848.9 metres, in a single effort on the same hill or mountain of your choosing.

Thompson's new record of 52 completed Everests beats the previous record of 42 in a single year and was recently officially recognised by Everesting.cc.

The Australian's new record was achieved as part of his extraordinary wider mission. 

In 2022, Thompson's main project titled "1,000,000: A Space Odyssey" saw him complete an additional 2,068 metres of elevation per day in addition to the Everests in order to climb one million metres to raise mental health awareness.

In late-October last year, Thompson completed one of his Everests in North London and was joined by a member of the British House of Lords in support.

Lord Ian Austin, who sits as a life peer in the House of Lords called the Australian's fundraising efforts "incredible".

Austin said: “It’s always great to meet people doing amazing things to help others, so it was a massive privilege to support Jack’s incredible effort and ride up Hillway with him.

“He’s doing this every week to raise awareness about mental health and money for charities treating it. I know times are tough for many people right now, but I hope people will give what they can to support his incredible campaign.”

Thompson's amazing efforts weren't his first big achievement.

In 2021, the Australian rode the entire Tour de France route in just ten days.
 

USA CYCLING ANNOUNCES CARI HIGGINS AS NEW CHAIRWOMAN OF THE BOARD

Cari Higgins

(Image credit: USA Cycling)

Cari Higgins, a 23 time National Champion, has been appointed as the first chairwoman of the USA Cycling Board of Directors.

Higgins also represents the US national governing body as a member of the US Olympic and Paralympic committee (USOPC).

Along with Higgins appointment, Greg Allen has been elected into the vice-chair position.

On her new appointment, Higgins said: "I am honoured to have been elected as the Chairwoman of the USA Cycling Board of Directors.

"It’s not just symbolic that I’m the first woman and first athlete in this position. Myself, the rest of the Board, and the newly elected Athlete Advisors are excited to make an impact on all levels of cycling, from grassroots to elite competition."

JURY RETIRES TO CONSIDER VERDICT IN TRIAL OF MEN ACCUSED OF ROBBING MARK CAVENDISH

Mark Cavendish

(Image credit: Astana-Qazaqstan)

Jurors have begun their deliberations (opens in new tab) in the trial of two men accused of robbing Mark Cavendish and his wife Peta.

In November 2021, balaclava wearing intruders allegedly broke into Cavendish's home as he was asleep upstairs with his wife and children and threatened the cyclist with a knife before making off with two high-value watches .

Romario Henry and Oludewa Okorosobo, aged 31 and 28 respectively, have both denied two counts of robbery.

Two more suspects in the robbery, Jo Jobson and George Goddard, remain at large and have not yet been apprehended.

Cavendish recently finalised a move to the Astana Qazaqstan team for 2023 which will give him the opportunity to go after the overall record for the most Tour de France stage wins. 

Cavendish is currently tied on 34 wins with Belgian cycling legend Eddy Merckx. 

PART OF CRITERIUM DU DAUPHINE ROUTE RELEASED

Primoz Roglic

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Details of the route for the 75th edition of the Critérium du Dauphiné are beginning to emerge.

The race is set to begin with a 158 kilometre long stage, spread over four circuits, which will start and finish in the town of Chambon-sur-Lac in the heart of the Auvergne region.

The first circuit will see the riders travel to the ski resort of Mont-Dore, while the second will visit the climb of Cote du Rocher de l'Aigle. In total, the opening stage will feature just under 3,000 metres of elevation.

Some of the course will feature in the 10th stage of this year's Tour de France, giving the peloton a good opportunity to explore the route ahead of the bigger competition in July.

Primoz Roglic won last year's edition of the Dauphine, although the Slovenian will skip the Tour this year to focus on the Giro d'Italia.

QUARTERMAN HEADS TO ARGENTINA WITH TEAM CORRATEC

Charlie Quarterman

Quarterman in action with former team Trek-Segafredo 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

British rider Charlie Quarterman is South America bound for the Vuelta a San Juan with Team Corratec.

The Italian ProTeam is set to make its debut at the Argentinian race, meaning that Quarterman and his teammates will go up against the likes of Egan Bernal and Remco Evenepoel at the end of the month in South America.

Corratec's full team selection is below:

See more

ALAPHILIPPE TO GET SEASON UNDERWAY AT CHALLENGE MALLORCA

Julian Alaphilippe

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Julian Alaphilippe and Kasper Asgreen will headline the Soudal Quick-Step team selection at the upcoming Challenge Mallorca race.

The Belgian squad return to the series of races for the first time in seven years. Including the Trofeo Calvia, the series will also include four other races, the Trofeo Port d'Alcudia, Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana, the Trofeo Port d'Andratx and Trofeo Playa de Parma.

Joining Alaphilippe and Asgreen in Soudal Quick-Step's squad will be Andrea Bagioli, Davide Ballerini, Remi Cavagna, Josef Cerny, Tim Declerq, Fausto Masnada, Casper Pedersen, Florian Senechal, Bert Van Lerberghe, Ilan Van Wilder, Mauri Vansevenant, Ethan Vernon and Louis Vervaeke.

“We are going to Mallorca with fifteen riders, who will start their season there, and looking on our team I think we can say that every rider that comes with us there has the chance to do something. Of course, we look forward to seeing Julian in action; he’s had a difficult year and is keen to leave this behind.

"Ethan could also have a chance to fight for victory, but it won’t be easy, because even the easier races are still quite hard. All the guys have had a good winter and are really motivated to pin on a number again and do what they love most: race”, said sports director Tom Steels.

TOM BOONEN UNVEILS STATUE OF HIS LEGS IN BELGIUM

Tom Boone 4th Roubaix win

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Tom Boonen has unveiled a sculpture dedicated to his career in Belgium this morning.

A bronze cast of his legs was unveiled  on the top of the Taaienberg, an iconic cobbled climb which regularly features in the Tour of Flanders. 

The ex-pro cyclist and Belgian cult hero told Het Nieuwsblad (opens in new tab) that the sculpture had taken six hours to produce, with him having to stand on each leg for three hours for the casts to be taken.

See more

Oman to stage new race in the middle east

Muscat Classic map

(Image credit: ASO)

A new one-day race, the Muscat Classic, will be held on the eve of next month's Tour of Oman, organiser ASO has revealed. 

According to a press release shared today, the race will be held on "demanding roads" between Al Mour Muscat and Al Bustan on Oman's northern coast. Viewers, the press release adds, can expect to see "explosive racing dynamics".

The start list for the inaugural Muscat Classic will be the same as that of the Tour of Oman, with 18 teams, nine of which are WorldTour level (AG2R Citroën Team, Astana-Qazaqstan, Bora-Hansgrohe, Cofidis, Intermarché-Circus-Wanty, Movistar, Soudal Quick-Step, Team Arkéa-Samsic and UAE Team Emirates). 

The race is scheduled for 10 February. 

See more

GIANNI MOSCON SUFFERS COLLARBONE FRACTURE AT TOUR DOWN UNDER

Gianni Moscon

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Gianni Moscon faces a spell on the side lines after fracturing his collarbone in a crash at the Tour down Under.

Last year, the Italian found the first few weeks of his season were disrupted by Covid-19 and bronchitis.

Astana Qazaqstan confirmed news of the injury and announced that the Italian will undergo surgery in Australia to fix the fracture.

"Medical examination confirmed a left collarbone fracture to Gianni Moscon," read a statement issued by the team. "Our rider will be operated by Dr Nicolas Chabrel in Calvary Adelaide Hospital."

Moscon's injury puts a big dent in his preparation for the Spring Classics. Although he is likely to be fully fit by the time he's required to help new team mate Mark Cavendish at the Tour de France

ALL SOLD OUT IN BENIDORM!

Wout van Aert

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The organisers of this weekends round of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Benidorm have said that all tickets for the event are completely sold out.

More than 10,000 fans will gather in the Costa Blanca to watch the three cyclo-cross galacticos of Wout van Aert, Mathieu van der Poel and Tom Pidcock do battle once more this season.

The race in Benidorm will be Pidcock's last of the cross' season as he skips the worlds in order to prepare for the upcoming Spring Classics on the road.

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