Five at 5.45: the great Etixx exodus

Rolf Follows Cav to New Dimension
The Etixx exodus continues apace with news that technical director Rolf Aldag will join fellow exiles Bernie Eisel and the Marks Cavendish and Renshaw at Dimension Data next season. Perhaps there’s room for a sub-sponsor. Friends Reunited are likely to be interested. And who remembers HTC? Could the Taiwanese phone giant make a return to the peloton and try and reboot their mobile phone franchise? As with all franchise reboots, the characters will be older and perhaps not quite as alluring as they once were.
Super Cali
The opening round of the 2015/16 Track World Cup took place in Cali this weekend with Germany putting in a string of impressive rides to take five of the 14 events over the weekend. A year ago, it was Cali’s turn to host the Track World Championships. Francois Pervis won three rainbow jerseys in the keirin, 1km time trial and the sprint. In 2011, Anna Mears became the last woman to win three rainbow jerseys at one championships; the same year that Sir Chris Hoy won three silver medals.
Sorry Serry
Etixx-Quick Step rider Pieter Serry is recovering from a fractured skull after falling off his mountain bike on a training ride. It was the fourth crash the Belgian has suffered this season, having previously crashed in the Volta a Catalunya, Giro d’Italia and Grand Prix de Wallonie. Patrick Lefevere is unlikely to be happy – he disapproves of his charges taking part in ‘high risk’ off-season activites (witness his response last year to Cavendish’s extracurricular activities on the track). Serry is expected to make a full recovery and will join a list of riders who have come back from potentially career ending injuries.
The Giro d’Italia will start outside of Italy for the 12th time next year. Since Amsterdam 2010, the race has started outside Italy every other year, with Herning and Horsens (2012) and Belfast and Dublin (2014) hosting Grande Partenzas more recently. In 1996, the race started in Athens and stayed there for three days. Silvio Martinello took the maglia rosa for the first two days before current Astana manager Stefano Zanini took the race lead on the stage to Ioannina, a town famed for its feta cheese.
Halcyon: 2003 Paris-Tours
Erik Zabel hadn’t won the Sprinter’s Classic for nine years between 1994 and 2003 but he finally doubled up by beating Alessandro Petacchi and Stuart O’Grady. The German had won just five races before he took Paris-Tours that season. Petacchi on the other hand had taken 23 victories, including 15 at Grand Tours. The 2003 Paris-Tours race marked the end of Zabel’s dominance. He wouldn’t take another Tour de France green jersey and he won just nine races before retiring. Petacchi had the year of his career in 2004, winning nine Giro stages. He would win another 87 races before retiring earlier this year.

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