Endura's Argentinean adventure
The Endura Racing team, full of new faces, kicked off its 2011 season at the Tour de San Luis last week, alongside ProTour squads Movistar, Ag2r-La Mondiale and Liquigas, who had Giro winner Ivan Basso in tow.
They left South America with plenty of time up the road in breakaways, a couple of top tens and two top twenty overall placings, with Maarten de Jonge sixteenth and Iker Camaño twentieth.
De Jonge's result came courtesy of an accomplished seventh position on stage six of the race. The team's other notable stage result came the previous day with Alexander Wetterhall finishing fourth.
Having trained in Girona at the start of January, the team were quick to gel in Argentina. Rob Partridge told Cycling Weekly that "other than me and Iker [Camano], we've not raced together before, but we've bonded really well and are getting on with the job. We came here with some realistic goals - to go for a stage and see what we can do on the GC."
Partridge was himself left disappointed on stage six. He rode in the lead breakaway alongside teammate de Jonge for most of the day. Having reached the top of the last climb, the Welshman punctured on the descent and never regained contact with the leaders, eventually finishing seventeen minutes down.
The week-long South American stage race had its own character, with high winds, occasional stretches of gravelly roads and errant animals. "It's the dogs running into the bunch you need to look out for, " Partridge said. "The first stage was hard with the wind, but every stage has been."
"Argentina is a big country, and it took over 24 hours to travel here. We've had a few hefty transfers too, but it's normal," he added.
British interest in the race was also there in the form of Charly Wegelius, making his debut for American team UnitedHealthcare.
Wegelius finished 55th in the GC, 24 minutes behind the winner Marco Arriagada.
Having started the year considerably earlier than other British teams, Endura's next race is scheduled to be the Tour of the Med, which starts on Feburary 9.
It's get up and go time for Endura
Wyman finishes eighth at Hoogerheide World Cup
British cyclo-cross champion Helen Wyman took eighth place at Sunday's final World Cup race at Hoogerheide, the Netherlands.
"I'm happy with that, it's quite respectable considering I was a bit sick last week. At one point, I was coming back to the leaders, but my chest started hurting and I backed off, I wasn't going to win," Wyman told CW.
More disappointing was mechanical failure at the previous weekend's World Cup race in Pont-Chateau. Midway throught the first lap, her rear mech deposited itself on the French turf.
Wyman was forced to run a kilometer to the pits, destroying her chances of a high finish. "It was the perfect course for me. I wanted to show people, but you have to move on," she reflected.
Nikki Harris finished twentieth at Hoogerheide, with Gabby Day twenty-eighth. American Katie Compton won the race, but World Cup overall victory went to Sanne van Paassen.
Meanwhile, in the men's event, Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) beat compatriot Kevin Pauwels for the win to make sure of his World Cup title.
Sole British competitor Ian Field finished 35th, 4-39 in arrears.
Wyman will spearhead the British charge at this weekend's world cyclo-cross championships in Germany; look out for a preview on the Cycling Weekly website in the coming days.
Strengthened Twenty3c-Orbea all set for the new season
British team Twenty3c-Orbea presented their line-up for the 2011 season in Milton Keynes last Saturday.
With a new primary sponsor and a slew of talented signings, the squad represents an expansion of last year's Orbea-For Goodness Shakes outfit.
"We expect wins. My opinion is that whether you have a Continental license or not, it doesn't matter. Rapha and Endura are streets ahead of everyone, but there's no-one else we need to fear with our line-up," team manager James Whatling said.
A mix of youth and experience, they have added Spanish rider Rafael Rodriguez Segarra, Swede Gunnar Grönlund and Brits Rob Sharman, Andrew Griffiths, Mike Cuming and Dan Shand.
Experienced Sharman won the Premier Calendar in 2005 and has represented Great Britain at the world championships, while former Spanish professional Rodriguez has enjoyed several good results back home, including winning the first stage of the Tour of Galicia last year.
Back after three years racing in Belgium, Griffiths is the national under-23 time trial champion and will be targeting a repeat performance.
The team will be aiming to make more of an impression on the Premier Calendar and getting a ride in the Tour Series after missing out on selection last year.
"If you look at the team on paper, on sporting criteria, I'm ever hopeful. With the quality we've got - riders like Rodriguez and Sharman - we should be included," Whatling said.
The Essex-based outfit head to their training camp in Alicante next week. "Marcel Six's dad, the 1982 world junior champion, is going to follow us. With a world champion in the car, no-one's going to want to drop off the back," he joked.
Twenty3c-Orbea 2011 line-up: Lewis Atkins, Mike Cuming, Kristian Downs, Andrew Griffiths, Gunnar Gronlund, Andy Lyons, Rafael Rodriguez, Daniel Shand, Dean Shannon, Rob Sharman, Marcel Six and James Whatling.
Rollapaluza Winter League round in London tomorrow
Faces gurning with effort, legs whirling, a boisterous crowd bellowing and drinks selling like there's no tomorrow. Yep, it's that time again: Rollapaluza.
The popular London crew are holding the third round of their Winter League tomorrow (Wednesday January 26) night at Carnivale (E1 7QR) in the capital's East End.
One difference is the distance - at 1,000 metres, it's double the usual length.
The night runs from 6pm to 11pm, visit www.rollapaluza.com for more details.
Purt wins round eight of Revolution Bikes 'cross
A fine solo ride from Chris Purt (Energy CC) gave him his first victory in the Revolution Bikes Winter Cyclo-Cross League.
Series leader Sarah Barnwell (Eryri Harriers) won the women's race, beating Ruth Metcalfe (Rhos CC) and Ellie Salisbury.
With two rounds to go, third-place finisher Windsor leads Purt by four points in the standings, with Steve Bradbrook (Alf Jones Cycles) in third place.