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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for December 15, 2004

Edited by Anthony Tan

Grand Tour organisers at boiling point

"We will not request a licence for 2005," says Giro organiser

Despite the 19 UCI ProTour teams agreeing on an ethical charter yesterday, which focused largely on issues surrounding doping in cycling, the organisers of the three Grand Tours (ASO, RCS, Unipublic for the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia, and Vuelta a España respectively), among other important races, reaffirmed their position ever since UCI president Hein Verbruggen rejected the organisers' idea for a 'global calendar' on November 30: they don't want to be part of next year's ProTour.

"We will not request a licence for 2005," said Angelo Zomegan, race director of the Giro d'Italia. According to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, the Tour de France and the Vuelta will follow suit.

At the end of last month, ASO, RCS, Unipublic all said they would allow the 19 ProTour teams designated by the UCI to take part in their races (11 in total) in order "to prevent a crisis in cycling that is not good for anyone, and to allow the [ProTour] teams to prepare for the new road season with total calm." However, Tour de France director Jean-Marie Leblanc also specified that it was a 'temporary solution', and not all the problems had been resolved.

This became evident when various Grand Tour organisers began voicing their concerns publicly, during which time UCI press officers attempted to stymie growing antagonism by issuing a series of press releases, expressing their satisfaction that a mutually beneficial agreement had been reached - when it clearly had not.

Later, Cyclingnews revealed that on November 29, a letter was sent to Verbruggen by TdF organisers ASO, suggesting that their races be included as part of a 'global calendar'. This was interpreted by Verbruggen as an attempt "a serious attempt [by ASO] to make the ProTour fail", who sent out an email to all ProTour teams the very next day, expressing his discontent and rejecting the proposal, adding, "There will be a UCI ProTour on January 1, 2005."

Giro race organiser Angelo Zomegan isn't so sure. "We want to keep the rights of our race completely in our own hand," he said. "This is a big step in cycling and you shouldn't force it."

Zomegnan added that he wasn't sure about taking a ProTour licence for 2006 either: "I don't see it as an obligation. Perhaps we could go for years on this basis and the licence story is superfluous."

Should the ProTour somehow succeed, which will mean an end to the series of 10 races that comprise the UCI World Cup, and in turn become part of the 29 ProTour races, Amstel Gold race organiser Leo van Vliet is not concerned, and said they will move ahead "under our own power".

"Previously we were one of the 10 and now we are one of the 29, but that is not a breaking point. We'll go forward under our own power," said van Vliet. "There won't be too many changes. In past years, we have proven that we can organise a good classic, that most of the one-day riders find attractive."

Charity begins at home, but training for the Tour begins in January

Brad McGee "good for a top-10 push" in 2005

By Leslie Clarke

McGee poses with Wallabies' captain George Gregan
Photo ©: Cyclingnews
Click for larger image

Among the busy Christmas shoppers and office workers in Sydney's Martin Place on Tuesday, Olympic gold medallist Brad McGee continued his giving ways in conjunction with another Australian sports star, Wallabies captain George Gregan, with a function to benefit the Neurology Department of the Westmead Children's Hospital.

McGee donated one of his Tour de France yellow jerseys, framed and surrounded by photos of the multiple Tour and Giro stage winner and Olympic gold medallist, as an item to be auctioned to raise funds for the hospital.

The cyclist was delighted to make the donation to the hospital and particularly to have Gregan, captain of the Australian Rugby Union team, accept the gift. Gregan is a very well-known sporting figure in Australia who became closely affiliated with the neurology department after his three-year-old son, Max, was diagnosed with epilepsy.

A father of two, McGee makes regular efforts to donate his memorabilia to the Sydney hospital. The lunchtime crowd relaxed in the summer sun and watched young McGee-NSWIS riders Dave Tanner and Richard Moffatt spin away on rollers while television journalist Mike Tomalaris gave away copies of the SBS' Tour de France DVD.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Seven athletes named for USA team at 2005 'Cross World's

Three-time US 'cross champion Jonathan Page
Photo ©: Mitch Clinton
Click for larger image

Following the US Cyclocross Nationals in Portland, Oregon last weekend, USA Cycling has announced the automatic selections for the 2005 UCI Cyclocross World Championships, to be held in St. Wendel, Germany, from January 29-30, 2005.

Jonathan Page (Tilton, N.H.), Katie Compton (Wilmington, Del.), Jesse Anthony (Beverly, Mass.), and Bjorn Selander (Hudson, Wis.) have received automatic nominations as a result of their national titles over the weekend. Page, currently the top-ranked American in the UCI standings, captured his third consecutive elite men's national title in Portland on Sunday. Compton was a surprise winner in the elite women's race and is better known for her three medals at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens. As a pilot for visually-impaired team-mate Karissa Whitsel, the duo earned gold, silver, and bronze earlier this summer. Compton, however, has declined her nomination to the team. Anthony won his sixth consecutive national cyclocross title over the weekend as he successfully defended his U23 crown from 2003, while Selander took the men's junior title in only his second year of competitive cyclocross racing.

Also earning automatic nominations based on their overall Crank Brothers U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross series victories are Ryan Trebon (Ventura, Calif.), Ann Knapp (Des Moines, Wash.), and Charles Marzot (Newton, Mass.). Trebon captured the overall title in the elite men's category of the inaugural six-race series while Knapp won the elite women's category and Marzot took the junior title. In addition to his national title, Anthony also won the U23 division of the Gran Prix. Discretionary nominations to the U.S. National Team for the 2005 UCI Cyclocross World Championships will be announced on December 16.

Automatic nominations for USA team at 2005 Cyclocross World Championships:

Jonathan Page, Ryan Trebon (Elite Men)
Jesse Anthony (U23)
Bjorn Selander, Charles Marzot (Junior Men)
Katie Compton*, Ann Knapp (Women)

*declined nomination

Hayden Roulston faces visa rejection after drunken brawl

A show of drunken violence at a Christchurch, New Zealand bar back in June this year may cost Hayden Roulston a chance of a lifetime to ride with Lance Armstrong's Discovery Channel cycling team. The New Zealand Herald reports that Christchurch District Court Judge John Bisphan found Roulston guilty of two charges of assault after he attacked two bar staff on the night of celebrating his Olympic selection. A suppression order was in place while he competed in Athens, but was lifted yesterday in court.

The court heard that Roulston and his friends entered the Rock Pool bar in Christchurch in a drunken state on the night of June 3, 2004. When bar staff tried to eject him, Roulston verbally abused one barman, then struck him in the chest and elbow, before striking four or five blows to the head of another barman who came to help. When Constable Hamish Keer-Keer made the arrest shortly afterwards, Roulston made statements to the effect of "You don't know who you're dealing with" and "I can do what I want."

While none of the bar staff were able to identify Roulston, Judge Bisphan found the supporting evidence from the witnesses enough to identify him as the assailant. The judge also entered a conviction despite Roulston's lawyer, James Rapley, claiming a criminal record would jeopardise the cyclist's ability to travel to the United States to fulfil his two-year contract with the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team.

Although Mr Rapley reported that a woman from the US embassy said Roulston's visa application would be rejected if found with a criminal record, prosecutor Sergeant Dave Murray told the court he had spoken with the head of non-immigrant visas at the US consulate in Auckland, who informed him a person would generally not have a problem in obtaining a visa, on the grounds that common assault was at the lowest end of the scale.

Judge Bisphan said he would have to defer sentence to resolve the conflicting evidence, and imposed NZ$800 in fines, costs of $260, and $150 in witness expenses.

FBD secures Rás future

By Shane Stokes

FBD Insurance has stepped in to secure the future of Ireland's biggest cycling race, taking on sole sponsorship after the National Dairy Council elected not to continue their 23 year association with the event. NDC's decision came after the budget requirements for the event jumped due to new UCI requirements relating to the restructured international calendar. However, the new sponsorship deal assuages fears for the future of the race, with FBD opting to considerably increase their commitment to the Irish tour. The title of the eight-day stage race will now be the FBD Insurance Rás.

"This is one of the longest and most established sports sponsorships in the country and we are delighted that FBD is now assuming title sponsorship," said race organiser Dermot Dignam today. "When the UCI, the world controlling body, set new financial standards for international races, it jeopardized the prospects of many well-known events throughout the world. Irish cycling was fortunate in having the support of FBD Insurance, which greatly increased its sponsorship to meet the challenge and secure the future of this great race."

The company's Chief Executive, Philip Fitzsimons, also expressed his satisfaction with the arrangement. "Our long association with the Rás has been a positive one for us and Irish cycling," he said. "We are happy to avail of the opportunity to become sole sponsor. The Rás attracts the interest of young and old for eight days every May and the colour and spectacle of this great international event is brought into every home in the country."

Details of the 53rd edition have been released, with the May 22-29 contest covering 1,100 kilometres and 21 categorised climbs as it winds anti-clockwise around the country. The race will feature three stage finish towns for the first time, namely Emyvale, Templemore and Rathdrum, and with professional and amateur riders expected from at least 10 countries, it has all the ingredients of a great contest.

Click here to read the rest of the story, including details of the race route.

CQU Rockhampton Cup on Wheels to host Olympic champions

From January 14-15, 2005, a swag of Olympic and world champions will take part in the 2005 Central Queensland University Rockhampton Cup on Wheels, which includes Australia's richest wheelrace for women, the Herron Todd White Capricornia Cup.

Dual Olympic gold medallist Ryan Bayley, Athens Olympian and previous world champion Sean Eadie, and cycling sisters Anna and Kerrie Meares form part of a star-studded line-up at Kenrick Tucker Velodrome. Run over two days, the Rockhampton Cup on Wheels boasts $20,000 in prizemoney with $3,750 allocated to the Capricornia Cup, which has been won by Anna Meares once and Kerrie four times, who will go into the race as defending champion.

Click here for more information on the event.

Dark horses worth backing as UniSA defend JCTDU overall and teams crowns

The UniSA team for the 2005 Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under will start the race with added confidence knowing they have what it takes to match it with the slick professional teams that will line up in Adelaide in January.

The team boasts close to the same line up as this year with the exception of last year's victor Patrick Jonker, who is replaced by mountain bike star Chris Jongewaard, and Luke Roberts, whose place will be filled by Corey Sweet. Jonker retired from racing in fairytale fashion claiming victory in the 2004 Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under and his team-mates secured the 'Sensational Adelaide Overall Winning Team' victory against their more highly fancied European professional rivals.

"We always have an advantage of knowing the roads really well and having an aggressive team that seizes opportunities," said Russell van Hout who has recently re-signed with the Colombia-Selle Italia professional team.

"But I think it might be a little harder in 2005 because our expectations will be greater after the 2004 performance. Also, the 2005 field is very strong so the racing will be tough," said van Hout. "But we've all been getting along great and training together really well but there's no doubt we'll be the 'dark horse' in the field."

Gene Bates agrees the 2004 results will add some pressure. "I think people will look at the team for more of a leadership role whereas last year we started without that pressure," said Bates. "But the quality of the field means we'll still be the underdogs and we're pretty comfortable with that."

Bates has recently signed with Zalf, an Italian amateur team based in Treviso, as he continues his progression to the professional ranks. "I did a stint with Saeco this year, but unfortunately their merger with Lampre meant there wasn't a place for me in the line up for 2005," said Bates. "Zalf is another stepping stone in my career, and although the steps are a little smaller than I would have liked, at least it's progressing."

van Hout this year achieved one of his major goals of securing a start in the Tour of Italy. "Once I achieved that goal I set three targets for the actual event which was to secure a top ten stage placing, get in a breakaway and finish the event," said van Hout who achieved all three including an eighth place finish on the stage 13 time trial. "I was pretty happy with the outcome of my first Giro."

van Hout believes himself, Gene Bates and Corey Sweet will target the overall classification in the 2005 Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under while the rest of the team will 'cherry pick' their chances. "The other guys should be able to get up the road because the big teams will be watching each other and hopefully won't worry about us so much," said van Hout. "That should mean UniSA can snatch some good stage results."

"I've had two top ten finishes overall in the Tour and come close to a stage win a few times so in 2005 I want to step up a notch," said Bates.

UniSA for Jacobs Creek Tour Down Under

Gene Bates (Aus) 04/07/1981
Corey Sweet (Aus) 25/11/1976
Russell van Hout (Aus) 15/06/1976
Steve Cunningham (Aus) 01/02/1971
Adrian Laidler (Aus) 31/03/1981
Matthew Rex (Aus)
James Hannam (Aus) 29/09.1983
Chris Jongewaard (Aus) 18/07/1979

Team Manager: Michele Primaro

Lefevre: "Tom deserves the trophy more than Axel"

Vocal Quick.Step director Patrick Lefevre has said that the title of sportsman of the year in Belgium would have found a more deserving place if Tom Boonen received the honours instead of Axel Merckx.

"Tom was there the whole year, from his wins in Qatar and Franco-Belge, to three semi-classics, and two victories in the Tour," said Lefevre to "The progress through which he achieved, I find just as important as his 24 victories. Axel provided our country with the first Olympic medal since [Walter] Godefroot, but with all respect, he [Merckx] only performed for one month at a very high level. For this reason, I believe his bronze in Athens did not out-do what Tom has done."

Snowshoe Mountain title sponsor for Dirt Bean Racing in 2005

Dirt Bean Racing announced that Snowshoe Mountain, one of the Mid-Atlantic's premier ski resorts, will be the team's title sponsor for the 2005 racing season. Team Snowshoe/'s roster features established pro mountain bike racers from West Virginia including Kristy Mantz, Mandie Riddle and Bryan Fawley, plus semi-pros Joe Stone and Joey Riddle. The team will race the NORBA National Mountain Bike Series, including the fourth NORBA stop at Snowshoe, as well as regional races in the Mid-Atlantic states.

DirtBean Racing is based in Marlinton, West Virginia, at DirtBean Hale - part training facility, part bike shop and part coffeehouse. The team is funded in part by sales of DirtBean coffee, which is available at the coffee shop and on the Web at

The team is seeking additional sponsors and mountain bike and triathlon professionals to add to its roster for 2005. Team Snowshoe/ also has an affiliate program for expert and sport mountain bike racers and triathletes who will contest events throughout the Mid-Atlantic. Expert racers include team manager Chad Mantz and Justin Raines and Todd Rennie from Virginia. Contact: Chad Mantz at 304/799-4038.

Texas Roadhouse Cycling Team announces 2005 roster

The Texas Roadhouse/Roark Cycling Team has announced their 2005 line-up, which includes five members from their 2004 squad plus an additional six members, as well as 2000 Olympic Champion Marty Nothstein as a special guest rider at selected races during the year. Curtis Tolson (14-time National Track Champion) will remain as the team director/rider while Kevin Attkisson, Frank Cox, Harry Clark, and Patrick O'Donnel (former Superweek stage winner) will also return from a very successful 2004 season. New signings for 2005 are Marco Aledia (former pro with Shaklee and LeMond Fitness), Jeff Braumberger (former pro with GoMart), Mike Busa (former U23 national team member), Mike House (former pro with Sharper Image), Paul Martin (1997 national road champ, former pro with Navigators) and Skyles Keith.

"With the group of riders we have on board it gives us the experience and talent to compete at almost any race in the US," said Curtis Tolson. "Although our focus will be mostly on regional events, we will still step out and do a handful of NRC events on the road as well as big events on the track."

Team roster:

Kevin Atkinson
Marco Aledia
Mike Busa
Jeff Braumberger
Harry Clark
Frank Cox
Mike House
Skyles Keith
Pat O'Donnel
Paul Martin
Curtis Tolson

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