Regional Cycling News for November 27, 2003
Edited by John Stevenson
Two new courses and a pro team for 2004 Bay Crit Series
by Karen Forman
The 15th edition of Australia's premiere criterium series, the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic, will feature its first all-pro team since Australian riders Neil Stephens and Patrick Jonker brought ONCE out from Spain to contest the event in the mid '90s.
FdJeux.com - headed up by Brad McGee and including fellow Australians Baden Cooke, Matt Wilson and Mark Renshaw, with Austrian Bernhard Eisel - will be sponsored by Skilled for the five-event criterium series in the Mornington Peninsula region and Melbourne on January 7-11.
And, according to Melbourne-based race director John Trevorrow, they will just be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to a top quality field. "It's a real coup for us to have FdJ and we are also confident 2002 series winner Australian Robbie McEwen will be back to defend his title," Trevorrow told Cyclingnews. "As well, we have Brownie [Graeme Brown] in the SBR team with Brett Lancaster, and Hilton Clarke and Brett Aitken will be riding with Drapac Properties. Also, I have just heard that the British team wants to ride again."
McEwen has won five Bay Classics in the past eight years and declared after the 2003 event that he would be back to try for a sixth.
Australia's pro riders often use the Jayco Bay Series as an early launch to their road seasons and as a fitness indicator for Australia's premiere road tour, the Jacobs Creek Tour Down Under.
Meanwhile, entries for the B-grade event are near capacity and Trevorrow estimates a record 80 entries in the women's event, which is shaping up to be a very classy field. "It looks like Kate Bates will be back to defend her win and Katie Mactier has set herself for it and intends to win," he said.
A highlight of the 2004 Jayco Bay Crits will be the addition of two completely new courses - on the first and last days. "We're going to start and finish with a bang," Trevorrow said. "We start on January 7 on a new course in Hastings, which is on the western port bay of the Mornington Peninsula. In past years we have started at Rye on Port Phillip Bay but the Mornington Council, which has been a sponsor for the last few years. asked for it to be on this side at their new indoor pool complex and we thought that was a good idea. The course is 1km around which will be challenging for the riders and exciting for the spectators."
The next three races will be held as in past years in the tiny beachside township of Portarlington on the Thursday, on the picturesque car park course at Ritchie Boulevard, Geelong on the Friday evening and Saturday night at the Geelong Botanic Gardens. The latter course was introduced last year and will be remembered for the surprise win by 17 year old junior William Walker (who ran top 10 in the world junior time trial this year).
A huge crowd cheered wildly as the Melbourne youngster, last year's Victorian junior road champion, broke away and then stayed out in front for most of the race before being caught by Brit Kristian House in the final 15 minutes. They rode together and survived an attack by McEwen and Aitken, then sprinted for the win. The crowd was even more enamored of Walker when, asked by international cycling commentator Phil Liggett afterwards what it had been like to beat Robbie McEwen, he answered modestly: "I'm happy just to meet him."
The finale on the Sunday will be an exciting new course at Dockland in Melbourne city, a former industrial wasteland which has undergone a facelift to become one of Melbourne's premiere inner-city residential and dining precincts. A gala dinner and presentation of the Victorian Cycling Hall of Fame presentations will follow at the Melbourne Sofitel that evening. A limited number of tickets are available by contacting Karen Jones 0408 375238. Race headquarters will be the Mercure Hotel in Geelong, an hour's drive west of Melbourne.
Trevorrow said he was excited about the 15th Bay series. "It's just the class of riders again - the field is top notch," he said. "They seem to go quicker each year. Also, I am really looking forward to the new circuit at Dockland."
Melbourne International track series kicks off Saturday
This Saturday night the Vodafone Arena in Melbourne, Australia plays host to the Melbourne Cup on Wheels, one of Australia's top track cycling events. The Melbourne Cup on Wheels is the first of the four-round International Track Cycling Series.
The Melbourne Cup on Wheels has once again attracted the best cyclists from Australia and around the world to compete for a rich prize pool. Top riders confirmed to compete in Saturday night's event include Shane Kelly, Jobie Dajka, Brett Aitken, Mark French and Danny Clark.
Kelly, Dajka, French and NSW cyclist Greg McFarlane will star in a four-man sprint derby to test who is the quickest man on two wheels, whilst perennial champion Danny Clark, at the ripe age of 52, will take on two-time Austral winner and fellow Tasmanian Darren Young in a 25 lap motorpace event.
The feature event of the night will be the classic Wheelrace, the Melbourne Cup on Wheels. The Melbourne Cup on Wheels has been running for over 55 years, and two of the earliest winners will present the winners trophy to the 2003 winner on Saturday night. Over 100 cyclists have entered to contest this event, run over six 2000m heats. The first three placegetters in each heat will qualify for the final to be run over 2000m.
The Melbourne Cup on Wheels promotion will also form part of the newly established National Track Series. As such, competitors will be able to accrue maximum points in the Keirin, Handicap and Endurance events (Madison and Scratch Race) which form part of the National Series, and thus will add a bit more spice to the racing.
Tickets are on sale at Ticketek (132 849 or www.ticketek.com) from $20, and season tickets are available prior to the first event.
Just four days left in Danielson foundation auction
Instead of selling off his old team bikes and gear and banking the proceeds, as many pros do at the end of the year, Tom Danielson is auctioning a pile of equipment and memorabilia in aid of Tom Danielson Scholarship Foundation. With only four days to go in the auction there's the potential to pick up a bargain and donate to a good cause - the foundation will assist the development of collegiate riders at Danielson's alma mater, Fort Lewis College.
Items up for grabs include a never-ridden Team Saturn LeMond bike (currently standing at a bid of $2,125.00, and one of the LeMond bikes Danielson rode on his way to victory in the 2003 Tour de Langkawi (current bid: $1,375.01).
Among the more unusual items in the auction is a Tour de Langkawi leader's jersey (current bid: $330.00); the skinsuit Danielson wore in the 2003 Mount Washington Hillclimb, and a rare team T-Mobile women's leather jacket donated by Danielson's girlfriend Kristin Johnson.
For full details see the auction page on Tom Danielson's website.
Herne Hill velodrome gets boost from London mayor
London's mayor Ken Livingstone has given his support to the London Velodrome Trust, the organisation that is attempting to raise £6m to renovate Herne Hill Velodrome, the city's only track facility, according to the BBC.
The redevelopment plans include an all-weather cover for the track, a gym and an indoor climbing centre, making the velodrome a year-round sporting centre. Supporters of the plan say it could raise use of the site from the current 17,000 vistors per year to 125,000 but residents are concerned that this will results in more traffic and noise.
"I'm a big supporter of Herne Hill Velodrome," said Livingstone. "The London Velodrome Trust's plans for this historic track will be an essential part of London cycling's future - strong links between cycling sport, fun, health fitness and everyday cycling for all."
Cooke & McEwen face off in Queensland
December 7 sees Australia's Tour de France green jersey contest duo of Baden Cooke and Robbie McEwen line up at the next round of the Grand Prix Cycling Series in Queensland, at Brisbane's South Bank.
After their titanic battle in this years' Tour, McEwen will have a point to prove after being stripped of the green sprinters' jersey by the width of a tyre on the final stage.
McEwen is also keen to defend his Grand Prix Cycling Series title again this year, especially as his home town will host the final round of the series. "It's not often I get to race in front of a home crowd so it's really exciting for me. I just hope I can do the job," said McEwen.
This is the first time the pair will complete a full race against each other since recommencing serious training for their upcoming 2004 European season. Cooke, who has been recovering from surgery for a saddle-related problem, said he was "keen to step up his pre season training and although not quite at full strength will be aiming for a major placing."
Cooke says he has recovered from the surgery and the disastrous aftermath caused by a sequence of travel problems that involved him being unable to lie down on a 24-hour flight back to Australia after the surgery. "My doctor gave me a clean bill of health two days ago so I am on my way to a five-day training camp doing some cross training on my mountain bike," Cooke said.
Also scheduled to ride the Brisbane event, and final round at Surfers Paradise on Sunday, 14 December 2003 are Cooke's Tour de France team mates Brad McGee and Matthew Wilson, and last year's runner up Matt White who will ride for Cofidis in 2004.
Johnson to defend wheelrace title at Devonport
By Rod Morris
Johnson has been handicapped to ride the 2000 m event from 160 m, but will have some talented riders behind him. Nathan Clarke will be the carnival's only scratchman, although Mark Jamieson (40 m), Gareth Atkins (40 m) and 80 m riders, Daniel Cutting and Matt Goss are sure to make their presence felt.
Riders will also be treated to a 1000 m Lighning Handicap, as well as graded scratch races, a miss and out and an invitation derby.
Last year, the 1000 m handicap was won by Hobart's Andrew Loft, who hasn't been sighted on his track bike this season, while the scratch races were won by Gareth Atkins (A Grade) and Ryan Johnson (B Grade).
Sunday's Carnival will start at midday.
McCormack favourite at Chainbiter 'Cross
This Sunday, November 30 sees round 4 of the Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series, the Chainbiter 5.0 Cyclo-Cross (UCI Cat.3) in Farmington, CT.
Marc Gullickson (Redline) is not expected to be on hand to defend his leader's jersey, so all eyes will be on Mark McCormack (Saturn), who is right on Gullickson's heels in the NECCS overall standings. With a strong ride, McCormack, who recently returned from the Tour de Okinawa (where he finished 3rd), could win his first Verge NECCS race of the year, and take over the series lead. Under-23 series leader Jeremy Powers (NCC/BikeReg.com) has his best shot at a podium finish yet this season. His results have improved week-by-week, and he should be challenging McCormack from start to finish. Ben Turner (7-UP/Maxxis) will be flying in from Colorado for the race, and should also be in with a good shot at a podium finish.
In the women's elite race, last year's race winner Mary McConneloug (Seven Cycles) returns to the Chainbiter Cyclo-Cross wearing the series leader's jersey. On hand to challenge her for the victory will be Anna Milkowski (Gearworks/SpinArts) who is 3rd overall in the series standings and her teammate Marianne Stover (Gearworks/SpinArts) who is 5th overall.
Following the Chainbiter 5.0 Cyclo-Cross race, the Verge NECCS will move on to South Kingston, Rhode Island for Round Five: the W.E. Stedman Grand-Prix of Cyclo-Cross, on December 7.
Ocean hazard at CCCP CycloCross
Mud, sand, barriers and tree roots are standard obstacles for 'cross racers, but competitors at this weekend's UCI Cat 3 CCCP CycloCross at Coyote Point, San Mateo, CA, November 30 will have to contend with an unusual hazard - the ocean.
According to organiser Tom Simpson, "early starters on Sunday may need to carefully dance along the edge of the Ritchey 'Walk on the Beach' that borders San Francisco Bay because the winter high tides will be washing right up to the edge of the fence line of the race course during the morning amateur events." Low tide is at mid-day, but the water will be returning for the 2:15pm start of the Elite men's race.
The event comprises the fourth round of the Bay Area Super Prestige CylcoCross series and racing starts at 9am. The first three rounds of the series have averaged 300 competitors and the prospect of a little rain on Saturday may lure those Californians who envy their Pacific Northwest 'cross buddies who always have a healthy dose of mud to consider their season complete.
During the elite podium ceremonies, the winning ticket will be drawn for organisers Pilarcitos Cyclesports world championships trip. Tickets for this five-day, two-person trip to the cyclo-cross world's in Pontchateau in January will be available at Sunday's race.
Vergegear.com 'cross series finale this weekend
The 2003 Vergegear.com Mid-Atlantic Cyclo-Cross Championship Series wraps up this Sunday with the Blue Diamond Park 'Cross in New Castle, Delaware.
Although Ryan Trebon (Kona) has already clinched the 2003 Vergegear.com series title, the Elite men's race this Sunday promises to be full of fireworks. Sitting in second and third places, respectively, are Fort/GPOA teammates Gunnar Shogren and Ryan Leech. Shogren, the reigning Master's 40+ National Champion, has a twenty-four point lead over newly crowned Pennsylvania State Champion, Leech. Although they are teammates, both want to finish the 2003 series ranked second only to Trebon.
In the Elite Women's field, Betsy Schauer (Fort/GPOA) still sits in the number one position. Continuing to narrow the gap to her is Amber Itle (Wissahickon) who is coming off a win at Raccoon Township Cross. Mathematically, it appears that Schauer just needs to put in a consistent, steady ride on Sunday to take the win. Even a win by Itle will not vault her past Schauer unless everything goes wrong for the Fort/GPOA rider. That's doubtful since Schauer has been the model of consistency this season but strange things can happen in 'cross and the series isn't over until it's over!
For race details or additional series details, please go to ww.monkeyhillcs.com/mac/2003.
Nebraska CX series finale and state titles
This Sunday, November 30 is the finale for the 2003 Nebraska Cyclo-cross Series, and the event incorporates the Nebraska State Championships. Racing starts at 12 noon Pioneers Park in Lincoln, NE.
For complete information on the 2003 Nebraska Cyclo-cross Series, please visit: http://www.nebraskacycling.org/cyclocross/raceinfo.php or contact race director, John M. Lefler, Jr. at 402-499-2065 or via e-mail email@example.com.
Yates brothers to ride Tour of Botany
Top New Zealand riders Matt & Jeremy Yates will be vying for line honours on Saturday December 6 at the 2003 Tour of Botany, the first round of the ORCA Urban Street Series.
Matt Yates comes to Botany as the reigning 2003 NZ criterium champion while former junior world champion Jeremy is fresh from an under 23 win at the grueling Tour of Southland. Along with Olympian Greg Henderson the Yates brothers are expected to be the riders to watch at this opening round of the series.
MTBchick.com in marathon effort
MTBchick.com has announced two riders who will focus on the new NORBA National Championship Marathon category for 2004. Returning team member Mara Abbott and newcomer Jessica Kisiel will campaign at the new longer distances.
Eighteen-year-old Abbott raced junior cross-country for mtbchick.com in 2003, finishing third overall in the junior national series and second in the nationals at Durango. Abbott prefers the longer distances but will also race cross-country and short-track in 2004.
Kisiel, 35, of Los Alamos, New Mexico took Expert category wins in 2003 at Snowshoe and Mount Snow NCS races, and a 4th at the Masters' World's mountain bike race.
Sponsors of the team include Cannondale Bicycles, Ultimate Bicycle Support (repair stands and storage systems), Hutchinson Tires, Pedro¹s, Suunto Wristtop Computers and Carnac shoes.
Giana Roberge teams up with Velo Girls
Former Saturn team assistant general manager and women's coach Giana Roberge has hooked up with San Francisco grassroots women's team Velo Girls as a coach of the 2004 race team. Roberge will also partner with Velo Girls founder Lorri Lee Lown on presenting camps and clinics during 2004.
A former professional cyclist whose career was ended when doctors diagnosed a heart condition in 1999, Roberge recently returned to racing, taking a win in the 2003 US national masters' time trial championship and a silver in the masters' world time trial championship. She has also announced a tilt at the Race Across America as a solo rider under the banner of Team Speed Queen.
Hinchinbrook CC wants riders
Sydney, Australia's Hinchinbrook Cycling Club is looking for a few elite riders to join its semi-sponsored team for the 2004 cycling season. Hinchinbrook CC's program has recently played host to Uruguayan riders Hector Morales and Jorge Libonatti who have impressed with a string of strong performances in national-level races in Australia, including the Tour of Queensland and Herald-Sun Tour
Interested riders should send their resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org by no later than December 25 2003.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)