Rivals Under One Roof

Alejandro Valverde finished ahead of Alberto Contador in the Ruta Del Sol last weekend. The two Spaniards are rivals but have plenty in common, from nationality to anti-doping bans. What you might not have noticed is that both ride bikes made in the same factory.

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The Wealthiest People in Pro Cycling, Part II

After looking at the wealthy World Tour team owners and sponsors last week, they’re merely the people who spend their money building teams in order to take part in the races. So who owns the races? Here’s a chance to look at the millionaires a and billionaires out to earn money from the sport. As ever the point isn’t to gawk at wealth but to offer an introductory “follow the money” piece so you know who pulls the strings.

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The Rise of China and The Fall of Italy

Lampre-Merida been sold to a Chinese firm. It means there will be no Italian team in the top flight of the sport, a first. While welcoming interest from around the world it’s still astonishing to imagine that the land of Milan-San Remo and the Giro, Coppi and Barali, Nibali and Aru won’t have a major team.

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Thanks to the SCP Gran Fondo

All sponsors get a message of thanks, a way to express gratitude for their support and a means to explain what their ad is about. Coinciding with the start of the Chinese New Year, February’s sponsor is the SCP Grand Fondo in China, an event that’s open to all and wants to welcome foreign entrants.

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Saturday Shorts

Here’s the Pinocchio, the official mascot of the 2013 world championships. He’s the wooden puppet who dreams of being a boy but he’s also known famous because his nose grows longer when he lies. As Wikipedia puts it “he has also been used as a character who is prone to telling lies and fabricating stories,” and no many are laughing when he’s linked to pro cycling.

But things are not as they seem. Famous as a liar, the puppet is also a symbol of hope in Italy. This and more stories below.

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Beijing’s Bad Air Day

If the government says healthy people should avoid outdoor activity should a bike race go ahead?

That’s the question facing the organisers of the Tour of Beijing which starts tomorrow as air pollution levels in Beijing today reaching a red-alert score of 397, a level declared as hazardous for all. Is it safe to race?

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The Vanishing Tour of Hangzhou

Goodbye the Tour of Hangzhou. The Chinese race was announced as a new race on the 2012 UCI calendar only to get cancelled less than seven weeks before the inaugural edition was set to start.

All races can have last minute hiccups but this event was a special one as it’s run by the UCI and got fast-tracked for World Tour status just a few weeks ago. Riders might celebrate being able to stop work earlier than planned but it highlights questions about the UCI’s continued conflict of interest as a governing body and an events promoter.

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Wednesday Shorts

That’s how good Peter Sagan is. Ok, like all statistics you can take them apart a bit, for example the age they turned pro makes a difference. But 33 wins? Even for a sprinter this is phenomenal but like those listed, Sagan seems to have something more. After all he beat Fabian Cancellara for the prologue in the Tour de Suisse.

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