Monday Shorts

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Skil-Shimano will become Project 1t4i in 2012, a holding name until the new sponsor is named. They revealed their kit over the weekend.
Project it4i
This is worth watching as the squad is trying something new. Once a small Dutch squad, they’ve got ambitions for more. They aim to create a team based in one place with open access for fans and the media. The new sponsor will be a “European multinational” but its identity is not yet known. But the team’s press releases come in four languages: English, French, Dutch… and German.

Rumours say it’s likely to be Bosch, the German industrial group that owns the Skil brand amongst others. Speculation aside, Skoda and HP are on board as well as Shimano. Despite Kittel’s wins the team probably doesn’t have enough points for the top league for 2012 but hopefully this is a long term story.

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Specialized confirm new team sponsorship

High road sports

Having sponsored HTC-Highroad, Specialized will continue to sponsor several of their top riders for 2012 and beyond in a deal announced today. No it’s not Mark Cavendish, this is about the women’s team.

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Rasmussen and the rules (is he free to ride?)


My first thought is that Alex Rasmussen looks like a lazy idiot, he could throw away a career and a decent contract with a top team simply because he didn’t think about updating his Whereabouts. It’s annoying but it is the duty of a pro .

But as ever, there are rules and after taking a look at them, my thoughts are a bit more confused. You see, there’s a chance that Rasmussen is free to ride.

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Rasmussen “terminated” by HTC-Highroad

Here’s the press release issued by the HTC-Highroad team. I don’t normally copy n’paste press releases but many were asking what is happening via twitter and so here’s the press release and some thoughts from myself tacked on below.

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Did Highroad ever have a sponsor?

There’s an air of the obituary across newspapers, cycling news websites and fellow blogs. Everyone’s lamenting the announcement that the Highroad team could not find a replacement sponsor for HTC to keep the team going into 2012 and beyond. And many are asking aloud why such a good team could not find a replacement sponsor.

But one answer is that they never had sponsorship in place since the day the team started.

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The Highroad that comes to an end

“After an exhaustive search to secure long term sponsorship we have concluded that it’s time to release our team members to pursue other options” That’s HTC-Highroad’s team boss Bob Stapleton. I’m travelling right now with a shaky internet connection so can’t cover the topic in detail but the team will fold at the end of … Read more

Cavendish to Team Sky

Wiggins and Cavendish

The news this morning, scooped by Richard Moore, is that Mark Cavendish will ride for Team Sky for 2012. I believe the deal was agreed on the first rest day of the Giro d’Italia, that he will be accompanied others from HTC-Highroad and that Sky will also announce other significant signings in due course too.

It marks a long journey for Cavendish, once spurned by the British track system, he made his own way into the pro ranks via the lowly Team Sparkasse, whilst contemporaries were shepherded by the state-funded system. But this gave him the focus on the road and the rest is history.

It’s not a surprise but still, some were discounting the idea given the frosty relationships between Cavendish, team boss Dave Brailsford and – until now – team leader Bradley Wiggins. But personal problems can be fixed. Especially when millions of pounds change hands.

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The Highroad paradox


On some measures HTC-Highroad is the most successful professional team going. At the time of writing they have 29 wins this year, the next UCI ProTeam is Rabobank with 17 wins. It was the same story last year, with the team finishing a long way ahead of Liquigas at the end of the season. And that’s before you include the wins of the women’s team too. Victory wise, this is the equivalent of a solo breakaway, dropping every other team going and finishing far ahead of the pack.

Yet for a team so far ahead of its rivals, it’s struggling to find a sponsor. I covered this subject back in March but now want to revisit the idea to explore a couple of new angles.

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Cav’s contract confusion

Mark Cavendish is one of my favourite riders. He’s not to everyone’s taste but I’m impressed by the number of wins he’s got. Still just 25, he’s on the verge of overtaking some of the biggest sprinters in the sport. Cavendish took his first win of 2011 a few days ago in Oman. But if … Read more

Is this the inspiration for HTC-Highroad’s "retro" jersey?

I’ve sung the praises of in the past. It’s a French website on cycling that is original and amusing enough to almost justify learning French just so you can read the content. If you’re not that diligent, translation websites will do the dirty work increasingly well these days. Anyway, they’ve found an interesting comparison … Read more