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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

First Edition Cycling News for November 30, 2003

Edited by Chris Henry's Australian training camp

By Karen Forman

The FDJ/NSWIS bunch kicks back
Photo: © Karen Forman
Click for larger image

Tucked away at the end of a five-kilometre-long, steeply inclined corrugated dirt road in the pristine but incredibly remote - at least by Sydney standards ­ Hawkesbury River Valley, the grandly named Ponderosa Water Ski Park is the ideal location for a professional cycling team to hold its season start-up training camp.

For a start, situated a good 90 minutes drive north west of Sydney and requiring a detailed map to locate, it's far from the prying eyes of media, rival teams and the dangers of city traffic. Public access is limited to visitors of those folk who have paid for one of the 24 permanent caravan sites which offer outstanding views and easy access to one of Australia's great water playgrounds…although it can be a bit embarrassing when holidaying kids on bombed out, fat-tyred "deadly treadlies" show you up on your skinny-tyred road racer as you battle those corrugations.

Next, it's smack bang in the middle of some challenging training terrain, the dirt entry road which promises to bottom out the average sedan struggling uphill in first or second gear not withstanding. And finally, it offers a myriad of opportunities for all-important R&R after training. Like water skiing and fishing.

Baden can paddle too
Photo: © Karen Forman
Click for larger image

If you think it sounds idyllic, then you're right. That's why the Australian component of the French team chose Ponderosa for their four-day joint pro and junior training camp, which finished today.

Seventh-year pro Bradley McGee and his brother Rod, who manages FDJ's Australian-based junior development squad of the same name, are no strangers to the place. Their parents have had one of the aforementioned caravan sites for the past seven years or so and the family has become a popular addition to the small community which for the most part has little idea that the bike riders amongst it are among the best in the world.

Click here for the full story.

2004 Vuelta a Argentina unveiled

By Hernán Alvarez Macías in Buenos Aires

Vuelta presentation
Photo: © Hernán Macias
Click for larger image

The third edition of the Vuelta a Argentina has already started with the official unveiling in Buenos Aires. The 2004 Vuelta a Argentina will run from February 22 to March 7. The race has the recognition of the UCI and is the fifth longest tour in the world with 2,000 kilometres of climbs and flats.

The Argentinian competition will give points for the UCI rankings and will be a good opportunity for many riders to build up in the beginning of the calendar year. Some competitors can use the race for preparation for the Giro d'Italia that is hosted every May.

The first edition was held in 1999 and the second one in 2000. Fortunately, Argentina's national race will be ridden again next year after a three year hiatus.

"There's a lot of anticipation for the competition," Vuelta a Argentina director Angel Dilucca commented. "In the first two editions we had excellent cycling teams from Argentina and also from Europe and other parts of the world."

Organisers still need to confirm the full race route. Dilucca said, "we don't have the final route, but we can assure that the Vuelta will have 14 stages and will be 2,000 kilometres long. We will inform the media about the official summary in 15 days". All the riders that want to compete in the Vuelta a Argentina will need to confirm their entry before January 15.

The president of the Argentinian Cyclist Union, Gabriel Curuchet, told the press, "we will give all our support for the success of this race".

The event will include a 6 klometre prologue and a 26km individual time trial, as well as a mid-race rest day. The first two winners of the Vuelta a Argentina were Switzerland's Martin Rittsel (Chicky World) in 1999 and Argentina's David Kenig (Bianchi) in 2000.

Official presentation of the Argentinian Cyclist Union

By Hernán Alvarez Macías in Buenos Aires

Gabriel Curuchet
Photo: © Hernán Macias
Click for larger image

The Argentinian Cyclist Union (Unión Ciclista de la República Argentina - UCRA) was presented officially Friday in Buenos Aires. This organization has the recognition of the UCI, represented at the presentation by Cuba's José Luis Peláez.

Former Argentinian rider Gabriel Curuchet is the president of the national union which earned UCI recognition on July 3rd and was affiliated to this international institution on October 9th.

"We suffered an important loss of the Argentinian Cyclist Federation some time ago, so we needed a new institution to organize the whole of Argentinian cycling," Curuchet said. "At first, I didn't want to become the president, I just wanted to be in the sporting part of the UCRA, but many people made me change my mind and gave me their support to take the responsibility of being the president."

The UCRA's president noted that his organization was formed to join the whole cycling movement.

"It's not that our institution is only for road cycling, nor only for mountain bike; it's for all," he added. "We wanted Argentinian cycling to be together in one union. The Argentinian Cyclist Union will be responsible for everything concerning our sport, from the organization of different races to the representation of our country in the international scene. I want to thank everybody and also to thank God for this achievement."

UCI's member Peláez affirmed the international cycling body's support for the new federation.

"We recognized the Argentinian union at our meeting in Hamilton (Canada) last October as the only official cycling institution in Argentina," Peláez explained. "Argentinian cycling must recover its place in the world. There is a chance to do this in the next years.

"There was some controversy between the BMX and the mountain bike organizations, but not anymore," he added. "From now on, there's only one cycling. I hope that during my next visit to Argentina we will celebrate the success of this organization and also of the national Vuelta".

The UCRA also has the support of the Argentinian Olympic Committee. Its president Antonio Rodríguez assisted to the presentation and commented, "it is a great satisfaction to be here when the Argentinian Cyclist Union is unveiled. This is an example of understanding between the four different cycling disciplines (road, track, mountain bike and BMX). The Argentinian Olympic Committee supports this new organization and I must congratulate the people who help make it a reality. I'm sure the Argentinian cycling will be very well represented with the Argentinian Cyclist Union."

Nicole Cooke back in training

Sidelined somewhat by knee problems, Nicole Cooke is back on the bike and eager to begin preparations for 2004. Cooke has kept busy at a number of awards banquets, but now plans on intensive winter training providing her knee cooperates.

"I've had phsio and excercises to make sure everything is aligned and working properly, from my ankles through my knees and upwards," she commented on her website. "I've been itching to ride again, but I know it was important to allow the inflamed tissue around me knee to heal once and for all."

Cooke began with two small rides at the end of this week, which were not entirely pain free, "but if all goes well I'll soon be putting plenty of quality miles in."

Valdez released by Paternina

Spaniard Ricardo Valdez has been released from the Paternina-Costa de Almeria team. The team cited budget constraints in its decision not to re-sign the 27 year old, who is now in the hunt for a new employer.

Courtesy: Todociclismo

Downhillers raise funds for Irish team

By Shane Stokes,

Benefit bike
Photo: © Shane Stokes
Click for larger image

A total of €5,500 was gathered through the purchase of tickets for an Orange racing bike, which was won by masters rider Tim Bugbee at the draw held at last weekend's Champion's Awards presentation.

The bicycle was one of several machines supplied to the Irish team after a large number of bikes and equipment were stolen earlier this year at the World Cup round held at Alpe D'Huez. Orange provided the replacement bikes at a largely-reduced cost and after this outlay is taken into consideration, the draw raised a total of €2,500.

This money will be put towards the costs of replacement of the bikes taken in France.

Wildside MTB 2004

Australia's best cross country mountain bikers will head a capacity field of 300 riders that will line up for Wildside MTB 2004 starting on January 31, 2004. In just two years, the four-day event on Tasmania's west coast has become the premier cross-country stage race on the Australian mountain bike calendar.

Testament to the event's standing is the fact that in the first two weeks of entries opening on July 1, 125 were received, with the capacity of 300 riders achieved early in October. A further indication is that 11 of the top 15 elite riders in last month's Australian National Championships are confirmed starters, including 2002 World Junior Champion Trent Lowe, dual and current World Junior Champion Lisa Matheson, Olympian Paul Rowney, and defending Wildside MTB champion Sid Taberlay.

Wildside MTB will be held from January 31 to February 3, 2004 and will include seven stages over a total of 139 gruelling kilometres. There will also be cruising stages for the less competitive riders.

Although riders are still trying to enter, the organisers are sticking by their pre-determined cap of 300. Wildside MTB was established with one aim: to be a world-class mountain bike event showcasing Tasmania's abundant and unique natural environment. The 2004 edition will see a modest increase in international entries to around 10. A foundation is being laid to grow this number for 2005.

Wildside MTB 2004 program:

Stage 1: January 31 - Vinegar Hill, 16 km
Stage 2: January 31 - Que River, 20 km
Stage 3: February 1 - Stirling Valley, 13 km
Stage 4: February 1 - Montezuma Falls, 27 km
Stage 5: February 2 - Spray Tunnel, 5 km
Stage 6: February 2 - Granville Harbour, 22 km
Stage 7: February 3 - Hells Gates, 36 km

More information is available on the event website, or by contacting Race Director Nic Deka at (03) 6428-2270, 0400-424-300 (mobile) or

UK Women's Team Race Series

The Women's Team Race Series for the 2004 season, sponsored by Luciano Cycles feature nine races, an increase over this year, including a 3 day, 5 stage, stage race - the longest UK stage race for women for 15 years. With his cycle shops in London and Surrey, Dudley Luciano Samuels has seen an increase in trade after backing Team Luciano.

"Women's racing has a lot to offer but there are too many people with a blinkered view," he explained. "I have benefited a lot from backing a women's team and can't think why more cycle shops do not follow suite. As Team Luciano is the number one rated team in the country, I am very pleased to be able to sponsor the Women's Team Race Series."

The Luciano Cycles sponsorship means that each organiser in the Women's Team Race Series will receive a sum of money towards the promotion of the race, a special race program cover will be supplied to organisers to give the series a higher profile. There will be a dedicated website where riders can get all the up to date details of the Team Series, dates, organisers, entry fee details, courses, contact numbers, race reports, current team points standings plus all the information, including how to get to a race, allowing riders need to get the most from the Women's Team Race Series.

All teams, which must be composed of at least three riders, will be required to send organisers their core roster prior to the first event of the Team Series. A rule exists allowing teams to discount one of their events' points total for overall classification.

2004 Race dates:

Sunday, April 4: Bedford
Sunday, April 18: Nottingham
Sunday, May 2: Surrey
Saturday/Sunday/Monday, May 29-31: Bedford 3 day stage race
Sunday, June 13: Oxford
Saturday/Sunday, July 3-4: 'Danny Boy' stage race - Limavady, Northern Ireland
Sunday, August 8: Towcester - Northants
Sunday, August 28: Darley Moor
Saturday/Sunday, September 18-19: TQ Papers stage race - Dublin

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