Slipstream’s Sponsorship Crisis

One minute you’re on top of the world, the next you’re in the gutter. Sport regularly serves up cruel metaphors for life. Cannondale-Drapac wore the king of the mountains jersey for a few days in the Tour de France, won a stage and put Rigoberto UrĂ¡n on the podium. They announced a new blue chip sponsor in Oath, a US media company and were renewing the contracts of their star riders with a new sponsor set to be unveiled, apparently even the new kit and bus designs had been worked. Only it seems the funding for 2018 was never in place, the new sponsor had not signed a binding deal and now the team could vanish. Here’s a look at the chronology of events as well as the options ahead.

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The Relegation Countdown

The Eneco Tour starts today and it’s the penultimate World Tour race ahead of the Tour of Lombardy on 1 October. As things stand Dimension Data face losing their spot in the World Tour for 2016 and team manager Doug Ryder is even talking about legal action to stay up. Here’s a closer look at the promotion and relegation process, why it’s all bubbled up so suddenly and an explainer why Dimension Data’s five Tour de France stage wins are not enough.

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Moreno Moser Makes A Name For Himself

Moreno Moser Strade Bianche Siena

“A real Moser” said La Gazzetta Dello Sport. The day after Moreno Moser won the Strade Bianche, Italy’s sports newspaper went to town on the family connections because Moreno is just the latest of the Moser clan to make a name for himself in the sport.

Above all though the new Moser has, to borrow a phrase from L’Equipe, so much panache he’s selling the surplus. Saturday’s race provided the perfect result for RCS but also for Italian cycling in general. Finally an Italian won and one with charisma and a famous name too.

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Happy New Year? 2013 Calendar, The Giro and More

With a lull in the world championships allowing the inhabitants of Valkenburg a chance to drive to the supermarket, the next two days see the UCI getting down to official business including the announcement of the 2013 calendar as well as some potential structural changes to the sport, like a salary cap.

As well as the governing body there is also news about next year from Cannondale and the Giro d’Italia which announces a visit to France for a mountain stage with a difference. There is also the guarantee of additional doping headlines in 2013 as the dates for the trial of Spain’s Operation Puerto have just been set.

And I’ve also got an exclusive update on the plans for a breakaway league. Here’s a peek into 2013.

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Sunday shorts

Taaienberg Boonen

A look at the photo above. Photography allows us to catch a millisecond in time and portray the moment as a whole story. Here is a great example. We have Lars Boom taking a tumble at the foot of the Taaienberg. That’s Lars Boom, cyclo-cross champion, a rider who can handle his bike. The fight for position is intense in moments like this and Boonen doesn’t give ground. Boom runs out of road, hits the soft earth. Game over.

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2012 UCI Pro Teams

Professional cycling teams are ranked into three tiers. The top level is UCI Pro Team and the 18 teams here have automatic and obligatory access to the big races on the UCI’s World Tour calendar. In addition, there is a range of rules governing these teams that aim to ensure sporting and financial stability.

You’ll find the top-18 teams below, their sponsors explained plus riders and staff listed.

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Etna, the hottest destination

Sapienza Etna

Italian pro team Liquigas have had a semi-permanent base on the slopes of Mount Etna this year. Etna is an active volcano in Sicily, the large island at the southern tip of the Italian peninsula. It’s black slopes often contrast with a snowy peak and at times, the infernal glow of lava.

Liquigas’s mountain HQ is the Rifugio Giovanni Sapienza, a mountain lodge also the choice of the Astana team. A pumice stone’s throw away lies the Hotel Corsaro, as used by two more teams, Lampre and Katusha.

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Basso to win Tour de France?

I’ve been waiting to use the above photo for some time. Sent in by a reader some weeks ago, it’s graffiti from last summer’s Tour de France. So when I saw some headlines about Basso aiming to win the Tour de France, I thought the time had come. He had to be joking, right? Only … Read more

Managing Nibali and Basso

Who gets Girbecco next year? Liquigas have won two grand tours this year thanks to Ivan Basso and Vincenzo Nibali. Indeed Nibali’s win marks the first Italian win in a grand tour outside the Giro since Pantani in 1998. It should be a particular satisfaction for Liquigas that 2010 has proved a vintage year with … Read more

Bigot rider to join Liquigas

Slovakia’s finest: Peter Velits and Juraj Sagan I’d written that Peter Sagan might start calling the shots around Team Liquigas and it’s happening already. According to, the Slovak Wunderkind has asked them to sign his kid brother, Juraj and the Italian squad is expected to recruit Sagan Junior this summer. Juraj Sagan is currently … Read more