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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for December 17, 2004

Edited by John Stevenson

Spanish teams ready for Armstrong

Manolo Saiz
Photo ©: AFP

The possibility that the six-time Tour de France champion would race Spain's national tour was floated at Wednesday's launch of the 2005 Vuelta route. Armstrong has not yet decided if he will ride the Tour de France, and has hinted that he might seek other challenges in 2005, such as the Classics, the hour record and the Vuelta.

"If Armstrong comes, he had better be well prepared because he will find strong opposition," Illes Balears directeur sportif Eusebio Unzue told As.

Liberty Seguros director Manolo Saiz welcomed the idea of Armstrong's participation in the Vuelta. "It would be stupendous if [Armstrong] rode the Tour as well as the Vuelta. It would be just what cycling needs."

Roberto Heras doubts it will happen though. Although Heras rode on Armstrong's US Postal team (Discovery Channel for 2005), he says he only knows him "Professionally. I really don't know what happens in his head. But I don't think we will see him at the Vuelta. I think he will ride the Tour."

José Angel Gomez to Saunier Duval

Spanish cyclist José Angel Gómez Marchante will ride for the Saunier Duval team in 2005, and not for Phonak as he originally planned, according to todociclismo.com.

Although he already had a contract with the Swiss Phonak team for next season, Gómez has 'opted out' and signed a one-year deal with Saunier Duval. Phonak's exclusion from the ProTour and Saunier Duval's need to strengthen its roster after the departure of Joseba Beloki to Liberty Seguros, made it a natural choice for 24 year-old Gómez to transfer. Goméz finished this year's Vuelta a España eighth on general classification in the team colours of Paternina-Costa De Almeria.

Amore e Vita boss accused of libel

The first hearing in a libel action against Amore e Vita team owner Ivano Fanini will take place on January 7. Fanini is accused of libelling the UCI, and has also been summoned to face a UCI disciplinary committee.

Fanini has said he will not be able to appear at the hearing because of family commitments but his lawyer Luigi Liguori has filed a defensive memo claiming the comments were constructive criticism and not defamatory.

Four signings for @home

The Netherlands-based @home women's team has announced four new signings for 2005. Most significant is the transfer of Ghita Beltman from the Spanish Bizkaia team. Beltman will be joined by
Jaccolien Wallaard from Ton van Bemmelen Sports and new pros Birgit Mulder and Judith Helmink.

BikeNZ quashes Ulmer retirement rumours

Rumours of the retirement of New Zealand's Olympic individual pursuit gold medalist are premature, according to BikeNZ chief executive Rodger Thompson.

The New Zealand press began to speculate that Ulmer was considering retirement when she didn't attend a press conference on Wednesday to welcome New Zealand's new high-performance director Michael Flynn. Flynn was until recently the high-performance director of Cycling Australia.

But Thompson told the New Zealand Herald, "It's totally incorrect. There's absolutely nothing going on at all like that." Ulmer was due to see BikeNZ officials today, but Thompson said she and coach Brendon Cameron, were calling in for a catch-up chat, nothing more, nothing less.

Thompson added that it was improbable that Ulmer would be discussing arguably the biggest decision of her career with him. That would be a matter for the rider, her coach and family.

Stars donate bikes to cancer auction

Fancy owning a bike that belonged to Paolo Bettini, Mario Cipollini, Damiano Cunego, Igor Astarloa or Oscar Freire? The five have all donated bikes to an on-line auction to benefit major cancer research institution, the European Institute of Oncology of Milan. In addition, world number one and 2004 Giro d'Italia winner Damiano Cunego has signed 100 Giro winner's jerseys which will be available to the first donors who stump up the €350 asking price.

For more information see: www.ieo.it

International MTB calendar kicks off in Cyprus

The Mediterranean island of Cyprus has become the traditional venue for the start of the international mountain bike season in the last couple of years, and especially in 2004 when the search of Olympic-qualifying UCI points made the early-season races there unusually important.

Hoping to capitalise on the success, the Cyprus Cycling Federation has announced a full program of mountain bike races in February and March 2005, with a three-race 'Sunshine Cup' series, the classic Voroklini race and the ninth edition of the three-stage Afxentia event, one of the few multistage MTB races.

The program is:

February 20, 2005: Sunshine cup #1 - Larnaca - Stavrovouni point to point, E1 February 27, 2005: Voroklini- Larnaka cross-country, E1
March 4-6, 2005: 9th Afxentia - Macheras Mountain stage race, D2
March 13, 2005: Sunshine cup #2 - Ayios Georgios Alamanos - Limassol cross country, E1 March 27, 2005: Sunshine cup #3 - Lythordontas - Macheras point to point, E1

For more information contact the organisers of the Sunshine Cup at delta@deltacyprus.com and for the Voroklini and Afxentia ccf@cytanet.com.cy.

Double Paralympian gold medalist to ride Tasmanian carnivals

By Rod Morris

The big name signings continue for the Basslink Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals with the announcement that Czech dual Paralympic gold medalist Jiri Jezek will compete.

Jezek (30) won both the men's road race and individual pursuit track titles at this year's Paralympic Games in Athens. A former mountain bike rider, Jezek does not specialise on track or road, but is equally adept at either. Jezek also won world Para titles in 1994, 2000 and 2002 and is rated No. 1 disabled rider in his country.

His disability however will not prevent him from competing in the Tasmanian Carnivals, where he has been handicapped to ride from 70, 140 and 210 m in the lightning handicap and major wheelrace events. It is also likely that Jezek will line up in B Grade Scratch events at most carnivals.

Jezek will be a first time visitor to the Tasmanian Carnivals, but has expressed a desire to compete well, according to Sports Carnivals Association of Tasmania Chairman Mr Grant Atkins. "Jiri has a great track record, his personal best times stack up extremely well against some able bodied riders and I'm sure he will compete on a level basis with others," Mr Atkins said.

Meanwhile newly appointed Cycling Tasmania Senior Track Handicapper Michael Grenda has released marks for all of the major carnivals. He has nominated 10 scratchmen from the 80 plus entries.

Tissot to time Tour Down Under

Organisers of the Jacobs Creek Tour Down have announced that Swiss timing company Tissot will once again be in charge of keeping track of the riders in the 2005 edition of the race - and this time they'll be bringing additional technology to the task.

Tissot was first involved with the JCTDU in 1999 when it used just one photo-finish camera. In recent years two have been used to help identify obscured riders and for the 2005 event there will be an extra unit.

JCTDU race director Mike Turtur explained, "This year, we will have an extra timing unit, driving a back to back display, hanging below the finish line arch, indicating the race time from the start of the stage, until all the riders are in."

Tissot's photo finish camera system can split close finishes with an accuracy of 0.005 of a second. The electronic system that records the incorporates security systems in its software so that the results cannot be tampered with.

Aussie jersey raffle for crit track

Australia's Coffs Harbour Cycling Club is raffling an Australian champion jersey signed by top Aussie riders Stuart O'Grady, Bradley McGee, Ryan Bayley, Katherine Bates, Anna Meares, Steven Wooldridge, Graeme Brown, Shane Kelly, Sara Carrigan and Cadel Evans. The jersey is being raffled to raise money to assist with the construction of a new criterium circuit that is currently proposed by Coffs Harbour council as part of an ongoing development that includes a 333 metre, 15 degree track and the 1.355 km criterium circuit.

"Tickets are just $5 each to enable everyone to participate in this great opportunity to win a jersey that would look great in any household," said Coffs Harbour CC president David McDonald.

Tickets can be obtained by emailing David McDonald at xelander3@hotmail.com.

Tour de Toona 2005

Organisers of the International Tour de Toona have announced the dates for the 2005 event, noting plans are in the works to increase prize money in 2005, and to expand the event to ten days in 2006.

The 2005 event will run July 25 to July 31 in Altoona, Johnstown, Martinsburg, Hollidaysburg, and through Blair, Cambria, Somerset, Bedford and Huntingdon counties. Routes will be similar to those used in 2004, in most cases. However, organisers say they are trying to return the Monday time trials, the kick-off event, to a downtown Altoona venue if construction on the city's 7th Street bridge allows. The time trials, once held from downtown, have been moved to 40th Street and Broad Avenue in recent years.

On the prize money front, promoter Rick Geist said the event was now "at a level where we have to do more to continue to grow The International Tour de 'Toona ... We hope that in 2005 that will mean adding to our $100,000-plus prize pool."

Geist added that the organisers are also trying to figure out, "exactly how we can muster the money and people power to grow the race by three days," for 2006.

USA track talent pool

USA Cycling has named the athletes selected to the U.S. national track cycling talent pool from which riders will be drawn to represent the United States in all major international track cycling events during the 2004/05 season.

Riders were selected according to performances at the USCF Elite National Track Championships in Frisco, Texas in September and the Los Angeles Time Trials in November. Riders also qualified at the first round of the 2004/05 UCI Track World Cup series in Moscow in November. Further coaches' selections were made based on participation on a 2004 U.S. National Team at an international competition and performances in the aforementioned events. A developmental squad of under-23 riders was also chosen.

The coaching staff at USA Cycling has also added an additional qualifying event to accommodate riders who may not have had the opportunity to compete in the first three qualifying events. This final event will take place at the ADT Event Center velodrome in Carson, California on January 29, 2005. Positions are still available for both men's and women's sprint and endurance squads.

The events that have not yet been qualified for are: Men's 1km TT, Women's 500m TT, Men's 4km individual pursuit, men's 4km team pursuit, women's 3km individual pursuit.

Selected riders

Men's sprint squad: Stephen Alfred, Michael Blatchford, Giddeon Massie, Christian Stahl
Men's sprint development squad: Kevin Belz, Aaron Kacala, Andy Lakatosh, Ryan Nelman
Women's sprint squad: Becky Conzelman, Tanya Lindenmuth, Jennie Reed
Women's sprint development squad: Rachel Herring
Men's endurance squad: Jame Carney, Brad Huff, Bobby Lea, Colby Pearce, Marty Nothstein, Matt Stephens
Men's endurance development squad: Mike Friedman, Josh Kerkhof, Gui Nelessen
Women's endurance squad: Ashley Kimmet, Erin Mirabella, Becky Quinn
Women's endurance development squad: Larssyn Staley, Anna Webb

USA 'cross worlds selections

USA Cycling has announced eleven discretionary selections to the U.S. National Team in the women's, under 23 men and junior men categories. Discretionary selections for the elite men's category will be named on January 12, 2005.

Gina Hall, Rhonda Mazza, Sarah Kerlin and Barbara Howe were selected to the women's squad while in the under-23 men's category Matthew White, Jeremy Powers, Troy Wells and John Hanson made the cut.

Braden Kappius, Adam McGrath and Mitchell Peterson were selected to the junior men's team.

The current US team for the cyclocross world championships in St. Wendel, Germany, January 29-30, 2005 is therefore:

Juniors: Bjorn Selander, Charles Marzot, Braden Kappius, Adam McGrath, Mitchell Peterson
U-23: Jesse Anthony, Matthew White, Jeremy Powers, Troy Wells, John Hanson
Women: Ann Knapp, Gina Hall, Barbara Howe, Rhonda Mazza, Sarah Kerlin
Elite Men: Jonathan Page, Ryan Trebon

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