Big news of the week is that Mara Abbott will be back next year riding for Exergy 2012 (who are presumably going to rename themselves to sound a little less so last year in 2013). Mara had a couple of really great years back in 2009 and 2010, coming 2nd in the 2009 Giro after her team captain Judith Arndt crashed out late, then winning it and getting 2nd in l'Aude in a couple of memorable mountain head to heads with Emma Pooley. But after a truly horrible 2011 where the most notable thing that happened to her was being found unconscious by the side of the road a couple of weeks before the start of the Giro without knowing what happened, she left the sport. She explains her motivation to return at length in an interview with Velonews. As far as I can tell it all boils down to "I felt like it, and if you don't like that then screw you." Let's hope she finds her top form again.
After all sorts of behind the scenes rumours (aka no-one told me), we finally got to hear about one time Red Sun manager Heidi van De Vijver's new team. It will be called CyclelivePlus-Zannata, in part sponsored by Belgian cycling magazine Cyclelive who presumably get first dibs on scoops in return for their cash. Their star rider will be another who missed much of 2012, 2010 Ronde van Vlaanderen winner Grace Verbeke, and supported among others Death Race 2012 star, Carla Ryan, Lieselot Decroix, and Monique van de Ree.
Alessandre d'Ettore, who was squeezed out of the national team this year by the rise of the wannabe Norwegians, will be with Team Vaiano next year. It was at the Vaiano organised GP Valbisenzio a couple of years back that some of us first noticed Elisa Longo Borghini, so I'm sure there's some sort of squaring the circle going on there. Maybe.
And for the really obsessive, I'm still trying to keep my transfer list up to date. If you can help fill in the gaps, please leave a comment. It all feeds through to next year's FSA-DS, and goes towards not making it such a last minute rush.
Remember Marina Romoli? RAI are broadcasting a ten-minute update on how she's getting on this Saturday lunchtime:
Il servizio su Marina Romoli andrà in onda su DRIBBLING il 1 dicembre ore 13.20 RAI2 dieci minuti per una storia che non dovete dimenticare— AlessandraDe Stefano (@adestefanoRai) November 22, 2012
And Marina herself is now on Twitter as @MarinaRomoli1, if you want to send a message of support (it's too early to say if she's got that chronic Italian retransmission syndrome, so don't blame me).
A pretty meagre few weeks for news, but if like the rest of us your thoughts are turning to mince pies, melomakarona, and panettone, Sarah is putting together a list of Christmassy sorts of presents with a cycling theme here. Think of that team jersey as the equivalent of buying a season ticket for a football team. Every penny goes to a great cause.