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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News for December 13, 2004

Edited by Hedwig Kröner and John Stevenson

No further losses for Phonak

In an official press release on its website posted Saturday, December 11, the Swiss Phonak cycling team announced that its team roster will not be subject to any changes even though the team was not granted a ProTour license by the International Cycling Union. Phonak will continue through next season as a Professional Continental team with all of its riders signed to date staying with the squad. Some riders' contracts included clauses that would have allowed them to leave the team if it wasn't included in the UCI's ProTour calendar.

"It gave us a very good feeling," said manager Urs Freuler in the press release. "It confirms that we have signed the right personalities. The riders clearly show that they trust the ideas of the team's management and the quality of its environment."

Still, the "early Christmas present" from the riders to Phonak does not mean the team can now schedule its racing programme for 2005. Phonak will have to rely on race organisers to give it wildcard entries to major races. Directeur sportif Alvaro Pino will take the team to two training camps in December 2004 and January 2005 and head to its first race to Doha, Qatar, on January 29.

"We have to be as active as possible from the first race on and get results to attract attention," Pino said. "That way, we will increase our chances that the organisers of the bigger and more prestigious stage races will give us wildcards," he added, explaining the team's strategy to compete in ProTour races without being a ProTour team.

The full lineup of Phonak Cycling team for 2005 is therefore:

Niki Aebersold, Santiago Botero, Aurélien Clerc, Martin Elmiger, Gonzalez Santos, Bert Grabsch, Enrique Gutierrez, Ignacio Gutierrez, Robert Hunter, Nicolas Jalabert, Floyd Landis, Alexandre Moos, Uros Murn, Tomaz Nose, Victor Hugo Peña, Miguel Angel Perdiguero, Oscar Pereiro, Viktor Rapinski, Gregory Rast, Daniel Schnider, Johann Tschopp, Sascha Urweider, Tadej Valjavec, Steve Zampieri.

Popovych to ride Tour only

According to Italian website tuttobiciweb.it, Ukrainian rider Yaroslav Popovych will not ride the Giro d'Italia next season, although he finished fifth at the Italian stage race this year. The 24 year-old has been recruited by American team Discovery Channel and is reported to be planning to participate in just one Grand Tour in 2005, the Tour de France. His team leader Lance Armstrong recently said that he would take his decision whether or not he would aim for a seventh Tour de France win only in May 2005.

Anthony lands under-23 UX cross championship

Jesse Anthony
Photo ©: Mitch Clinton
Click for larger image

The 2004 U.S. Cyclo-Cross National Championships continued to plough through deep Portland, Oregon mud Saturday. In the day's key race Jesse Anthony landed his sixth national championship, successfully defending his 2003 under-23 title.

Riders in this category were extremely motivated this afternoon, knowing that a win today would result in a nomination to the World Championship Team headed to St. Wendel, Germany in February. Jeremy Powers, recently returned from a full season of racing in Europe, was the only rider able to remain a threat to Anthony but his strength was no match for Anthony's speed. Anthony was able to stay at least 10 seconds in front of Powers for the entire race, and rode across the finish line ahead of his opponent to a cheering crowd.

The US national cyclocross championships is still underway at the time of writing. Cyclingnews will have live coverage of the elite men's race, starting at 15:00 US west coast time.

For Cyclingnews' full coverage of the racing, with oodles of very messy mud-plugging pictures, click here.

Busy January for McGee and Davis

Allan Davis, Robbie McEwen and Brad McGee
Photo ©: David Magahy
Click for larger image

Australian pros Brad McGee and Allan Davis are both expecting to be busy in different ways over the next few weeks. Talking to Cyclingnews at the second race of the Queensland GP series yesterday, which McGee won in a fine solo attack with two laps to go, McGee said he was yet to confirm details of his program for early 2005, but next month's Australian Open Road Championships was unlikely to figure in his plans. "I'm actually heading across to my home in Monaco just after christmas and start my European campaign," said McGee.

"I don't think I'll be there (National championships), I've gotta get back, my girl goes to school over there so I go and put her into school and maybe come back to Australia. I think it'll be a big European season next year."

As for McGee's long term goals for season 2005, the disappointment of withdrawing from the Tour de France of 2004, following his successful year in 2003, still weighs heavily on the champion rider's mind.

When quizzed over what he'd like to achieve in the next twelve months, McGee had just one answer. "Tour de France, Tour de France and three weeks in July ... Tour de France."

Allan Davis, who is widely tipped as the next big Australian sprint star, following in the wheeltracks of Stuart O'Grady, Robbie McEwen and Baden Cooke, is also very much looking forward to the European season. But first the workaholic sprinter has plenty of racing on home soil to think about. "I'll go back home for christmas and then down to Tasmania doing a criterium down there as well," Davis said of his early season build-up.

"Boxing Day I leave [for Tasmania] and then back home again until the National Titles and then my team will come over and I'll race Tour Down Under with the team and then back over to Europe."

Davis, a rider growing in stature who raced his first Tour de France in 2004, is confident of a start in the 2005 event, but first plans to prove his worth in the big races. "At the moment I'm trying everything I can, training will be based around the Tour but I'll be going for first the season classics," Davis said. "Just continue improving as a professional and getting everything out of the races that I can."

Medals for Mactier & Pearce in LA

Colby Pearce (USA) had a terrific points race
Photo ©: Mitch Friedman
Click for larger image

The second day of racing at the Los Angeles track world cup saw the crowd on its feet and shaking the roof for one of the tightest men's points races ever. With US rider Colby Pearce as one of the protagonists and the decision eventually coming down to placings in the final dash for the line, the ADT Event Center velodrome was truly christened with some top-quality racing.

The evening session also saw Australian Katie Mactier start her run for the 2005 world championship with a gold medal in the 3000m individual pursuit. Mactier said she was happy to have shaken off post-Olympic blahs to take the win. "I always go out and give it my best but this meet was more a matter of getting back into it after Athens," said Mactier. "I spoke with Shane Kelly (four time Olympian) a lot about what to expect after Athens and there's no doubt it's been a mental challenge because every waking second was directed to the Olympic campaign and then it's over."

In Saturday evening's other finals, France regained its domination of the men's sprint in a final showdown between team-mates Mickaël Bourgain and Arnaud Tournant while the team pursuit was a Germany vs New Zealand match. Natallia Tsylinskaya of Bielorussia was the fastest in the women's 500m time trial.

For full results, reports and photos of the Los Angeles Track World Cup, click here.

New Spanish Federation president

Fulgencio Sánchez has been elected the new Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) president in Madrid on Sunday, December 12. The election was decided with an absolute majority of 63, with 112 votes in favour of Sánchez, who will therefore take the seat of his predecessor Manuel Pérez. Sánchez wasa professional cyclist in his youth, then continued to be involves in cycling as directeur sportif of several pro cycling teams. He also organised races (Challenge Costa del Azahar) and became president of the Valencian Cycling Union, later vice-president of the National Federation.

Ochoa Colombian RR and TT champion

Colombian National Championships finished yesterday, on Sunday, December 12, and Israel Ochoa took the road championship title after having already won the time trial event. In the road race, Graciano Fonseca finished second, Oved Yesid Ramirez third.

2005 Tour of Shenandoah announced

The third annual edition of the Tour of Shenandoah will take place in Virginia's central Shenandoah Valley region from April 27-May 1, 2005. Professional and top amateur cyclists from across the U.S. and Canada will compete on a five-day, six-stage route across Shenandoah Valley.

The event will raise awareness for the control/prevention of Diabetes through exercise and a healthy lifestyle and begin on Wednesday, April 27th with a 3-mile long time trial taking place at Massanutten Resort, outside Harrisonburg. Later that evening, the cyclists will complete stage 2, a criterium in downtown Harrisonburg's Court Square district. Thursday's stage 3 will start in historic downtown Staunton and take the cyclists through the picturesque Maury River gorge before a finish in Hot Springs, home of The Homestead, a world-famous resort. Friday's stage 4 will start in the shadow of a 18th century hotel at The Homestead before making its way down the western side of the Valley and up over the Blue Ridge at Peaks of Otter, before a finish in Bedford, home of the U.S. D-Day Memorial. This day's race will be dedicated to the memory of all Allied Forces servicemen who died in battle on June 6, 1944.

On Saturday, stage 5 begins in historic Lexington and includes the challenging climbs up onto the Blue Ridge at Montebello and Reed's Gap. Sections of both climbs approach 20% gradient. The finish will be in downtown Waynesboro, gateway to Shenandoah National Park and a venue host and sponsor of the Tour of Shenandoah since its inception. The race will serve as the final stage of the Pro/Am men's race, but will also feature events for Women, Masters riders over the age of 40, and Beginner and Intermediate-level racing cyclists.

The 2003 and 2004 editions of the Tour of Shenandoah have been won by Scottie Weiss of Radford, VA, who rides for the Subway-Express team. Weiss, who shines on the mountain climbs that the race features, plans to defend his title in 2005.

2005 Tour of Shenandoah stages

Stage 1 - April 27: Massanutten Resort Time Trial, 3 miles
Stage 2 - April 27: Harrisonburg Criterium, 25 miles
Stage 3 - April 28: Staunton to The Homestead Road Race, 75 miles
Stage 4 - April29: The Homestead to Bedford Road Race, 101 miles
Stage 5 - April 30: Lexington to Waynesboro Road Race, 65 miles
Stage 6 - May 1: The Ed Elliott Memorial Criterium, 35 miles

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