First Edition Cycling News for August 6, 2004
Edited by Chris Henry
Changes afoot for Kelme
The Elche Club de Fútbol appears set to sign an agreement to take over management of the Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme team, according to a Marca report Thursday. The Spanish team, which has struggled financially and this year dropped to the Division II ranks, could become known as Elche-Comunidad Valenciana, effectively ending the more than two decade run of Kelme as title sponsor.
Team manager Vicente Belda is expected to carry on directing the team, despite expectations that he might part ways or be forced out. The Valencian government's contribution to the team is expected to total roughly 2.5 million euros per year for a period of five years, while the Elche football team's contribution was not disclosed.
Both sides have made it clear, however, that their priority remains the reintegration of the team in the UCI's Division I ranks, which at this stage means entry into the new Pro Tour for 2005 to guarantee access to the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia.
The team has found good fortune in the dominant performance of young star Alejandro Valverde, winner of three stages and the overall title at this week's Vuelta a Burgos.
Freire extends with Rabobank
Two-time world champion Oscar Freire is expected to sign a two year extension of his contract with the Dutch Rabobank team. On the eve of the Clasica San Sebastian, Freire told Diario Vasco that only the formality of the signature remained.
"They offered me a renewal, I'm very happy with them, and the team is good so I haven't thought twice," Freire said of his team. "There are some small details to work out but I'll take care of those in Holland."
Freire is returning to form after an operation to remove a cyst derailed his plans for the Tour de France. In with the leaders in the finale of the HEW Cyclassics in Hamburg last weekend, the Spaniard expects a more selective race in San Sebastian.
Rabobank's focus on the classics remains a key selling point for Freire, a rare single day specialist from the stage race nation of Spain. "It's hard to imagine returning to [a Spanish team]," he explained. "With their mentality towards the classics, it's better I stay where I am."
Alessio-Bianchi for San Sebastian
The Italian Alessio-Bianchi team will line up for the next round of the World Cup, the Clasica San Sebastian, with the following riders: Alessandro Bertolini, Pietro Caucchioli, Raffaele Ferrara, Vladimir Miholjevic, Cristian Moreni, Andrea Noe', Franco Pellizotti, and Scott Sunderland.
Phonak for San Sebastian
Tyler Hamilton is still out of action, recovering from his race-ending crash in the Tour de France, but Phonak will be in the hunt at the Clasica San Sebastian with one day specialist and former world champion Oscar Camenzind, Gonzalo Bayarri, Marco Fertonani, Alexandre Moos, Gregory Rast, Daniel Schnider, Johann Tschopp, and Tadej Valjavec.
Yus looking for change
Unai Yus, one of only two foreign riders left in the French Brioches La Boulangère team, is reportedly in search of a new employer for 2005. Yus joined the team in the off season along with Joseba and Gorka Beloki. When Joseba's early season did not go as smoothly as expected, complicated by a slow recovery from his season-ending crash in last year's Tour de France, he split with La Boulangère and returned to Spain to ride for Saunier Duval, leaving his compatriots behind in France.
Lelli placed under investigation
Italian Massimiliano Lelli has been placed under formal investigation by judge Richard Pallain for his suspected involvement in the ongoing drug case surrounding the Cofidis team. Both Philippe Gaumont and David Millar, each of whom has confessed to use of banned substances in competition, pointed their fingers at Lelli as their source of EPO.
Lelli, 36, was arrested by French police while on his way to a meeting with Cofidis management Tuesday in Lille, kept in custody back in Paris for questioning until his hearing before the court Thursday. He has been charged with the acquisition, possession, and transport of doping products, facilitation of the use of doping products, and accessory to the import of toxic substances.
The focus of judge Pallain's investigation remains not just the use of banned substances in the sport, which alone does not constitute a crime in France, but more importantly the trafficking of these substances.
Richest US criterium
Charlotte, North Carolina will host the Bank of America Invitational Criterium on Saturday, August 7th. With $125,000 in prize money over 50 places, organisers say it will be the richest criterium in the world. Promoter Thad Fischer has worked to bring pro cycling back to Charlotte after working as event director for the Charlotte stages of the Tour Du Pont from 1994-1996.
The race will be held in downtown Charlotte on a 1.2 mile, 8 corner course. Top North American professionals expected to start include Jonas Carney, Marty Nothstein, Dave McCook, Gord Fraser and Ivan Dominguez.
The race is designed to promote awareness and support for brain tumor research and treatment. The Brain Tumor Fund, in care of The Foundation for the Carolinas, is hoping to raise $5 million for brain tumor research, treatment technology and family/patient support services. Full event information can be found at www.charlottecriterium.org.
Interest for North Carolina velodrome
A group of businessmen and cycling enthusiasts in North Carolina hopes to build a $1.5 million multi-use velodrome in the Charlotte area. The Carolina Velodrome Association envisions a 250 metre track with a 1,000-seat grandstand, designed to lure events to the city.
"There are only 19 existing velodromes in the country," said Michael Cowan, member of the Carolina Velodrome Association, to News14 Charlotte. “By building one we'll automatically be a candidate for hosting international and national events."
To date the Carolina Velodrome Association is still negotiating for funding and a site for the facility, but the group has the support of the likes of Humpy Wheeler, president of Lowe's Motor Speedway, which this weekend will host the Bank of America Invitational Criterium.
Tour of Britain to bolster London Olympic bid
London officials hope the rekindled Tour of Britain stage race, which finishes in the city on Sunday, September 5th, will provide a boost to their bid to host the 2012 Olympics. The five day tour begins in Manchester on September 1, followed by stages in Yorkshire, the East Midlands and South Wales. The final stage will be held on a circuit in central London with the finish line on Whitehall. "After a five-year absence it is great news to see the Tour of Britain back on the sporting calendar, especially as London is hosting the final leg," said London mayor Ken Livingstone.
"With ever-increasing numbers of cyclists in the capital I am sure Londoners will give the Tour the same enthusiastic welcome they have given to recent events such as the London Marathon- the world's largest- and the Olympic Torch Relay, which gained such a tremendous response on the streets."
Sebastian Coe, Chair of London 2012 added, "the Tour of Britain will be a fantastic event and London is the perfect location for the final leg of the race. Over 80,000 people were in the Mall for the recent Olympic Torch Relay concert and an estimated 500,000 people came to watch the Formula 1 parade in Regent Street, showing what a passion exists for watching sport in London. "I want to tap into that enthusiasm and ensure that the success of Tour of Britain helps strengthen the London Olympic bid, which will bring massive benefits to the capital and to the whole country."
London cycling would benefit from the city's hosting of the summer Olympics and Paralympic Games in 2012, including a new Olympic velodrome, a BMX track and a mountain bike circuit.
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