First Edition Cycling News for January 17, 2004
Edited by Chris Henry & Jeff Jones
Another big step for Hamilton
By Chris Henry
Tyler raises the bar
Photo ©: Cyclingnews
When Phonak Hearing Systems presented its 2004 team at the company's
Stäfa, Switzerland headquarters Thursday, new team leader Tyler Hamilton
was the man of the moment. Hamilton's move from two very successful seasons
at Team CSC to the less experienced Phonak team surprised many, but it
was telling of the American's evolving ambitions, which now lie at the
top step of the Tour de France podium.
Like many team transfers, the subject of Hamilton's eventual switch to
Phonak was brought up mid-season, but it was not dissatisfaction with
CSC that prompted him to take Phonak's offer seriously. Hamilton's friend
Jim Ochowicz, who in addition to his functions as president of USA Cycling
board of directors serves as a consultant to Phonak, was responsible for
the initial contact.
"I was approached first... Jim came to me, I wasn't looking," Hamilton
told Cyclingnews. "The conversations started before the Tour, but
for me to get to the Tour de France I had to focus, and I didn't want
to think about that."
Offer from a friend
Photo ©: Cyclingnews
Hamilton went on to win a stage, claim fourth overall, and help lead
CSC to victory in the teams competition at the Tour. As the dust settled,
he was able to contemplate the prospect of moving into a position of sole
leadership for a team very determined to tackle the Tour. Eventually a
deal was reached with Phonak, though leaving CSC was not easy for Hamilton.
"I have nothing but good things to say about CSC," he said. "My two years
with them were fantastic. A lot of people try to make controversy, but
you can't take away the last two years."
In fact, CSC's Bjarne Riis still works with Hamilton as a coach. "He
gives me recommendations on how to train and every day I send him training
data," Hamilton added.
For Hamilton, 2004 is all about the Tour de France. He arrived at the
2003 Tour in the best possible condition, but had "that small problem"
of a cracked collarbone after going down in the massive stage 1 pile up.
He will still look for results in other races that smiled on him last
season, such as Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the Tour de Romandie,
and the Tour of the Basque Country. None, however, will take priority
over the goal of winning the Tour. Yes, winning.
"I'd be satisfied with the podium, but I have to think of the top," Hamilton
insisted. "I have to convince myself that I can win. You have to raise
the bar every year. If you start the Tour thinking that you can't win,
you're already behind."
With training and a spring program geared entirely towards the Tour,
Hamilton has also made some other changes to keep his motivation fresh
and his body working hard.
"I changed training locations back in America," he said. "My home is
still in Boston, but now I have a training home in Colorado (outside Boulder).
We live at 2,300 metres, which is quite high and great for your body.
I like it. It makes me work hard. I'm trying to make smart decisions and
trying to improve, and I believe that's one of the improvements I can
"I took a whole month off the bike," he added, noting this was something
he started after his move to CSC in 2002. "To start going again you need
to be fresh both mentally and physically. If you're still tired when you
start training, it wasn't really a break."
What about Athens? Although he has been somewhat quiet about his own
plans in this Olympic year, Hamilton is most certainly excited about the
prospect of racing for gold at the games.
"People forget it's an Olympic year, but definitely, it's a big objective,"
he said. "I won't do anything that will compromise my preparation for
the Tour, but the timing is perfect, coming three weeks later."
Hamilton will evaluate his potential role in the American Olympic team
as the year progresses, but noted that he would like to do well in the
His results from the 2003 season might be hard to top, but Hamilton is
as motivated as ever to succeed, and as the centre of attention at Phonak's
presentation, he seemed genuinely happy to be there. The team is dedicated
to the Tour, and fully committed to giving Hamilton the support necessary
to win. The preparation begins now.
UCI Division II teams
The UCI announced Friday the near-complete list of Division II teams
for 2004. Of great interest prior to the announcement was the fate of
the embattled Kelme team, along with Domina Vacanze, both of which were
denied entry into Division I earlier this month. The two teams have been
confirmed for Division II, although Kelme's future remains in the balance
pending decisions from the title sponsor, and the possible departure of
star up and coming rider Alejandro Valverde.
Four teams have not yet met the requirements for registry in Division
II: Atlas Hoop-Polsat, Flanders Afincom, Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave, and Team
Barloworld. These teams have until January 28 to provide the UCI necessary
Division II teams for 2004:
Acqua & Sapone
Costa de Almeria-Paternina
Elk Haus Radteam Sportunion Schrems
Navigators Insurance Cycling Team
Rutkiewicz maintains innocence
Polish cyclist Marek Rutkiewicz, whose arrest sparked a new round of
drug investigations involving Cofidis soigneur Bogdan Madejak and another
ex-Cofidis rider, Robert Sassone. Rutkiewicz was released on bail from
police custody in France after his arrest Monday night at Charles de Gaulle
"I pleaded not guilty," Rutkiewicz said in Polish newspaper Przeglad
Sportowy. "They've made me the scapegoat. Claims of an organised network
[of drug trafficking] are pulled out of their hair."
While the primary focus of the investigation remains Madejak, suspected
of involvement in a trafficking ring from eastern Europe, Rutkiewicz was
said to be carrying banned substances in his luggage upon his return to
France from Poland Monday, and substances were found at his home as well.
He insisted the products he carried were nothing but vitamins and nutritional
supplements, not growth hormones.
In circumstances similar to the ongoing Landuyt affair in Belgium, Rutkiewicz
evoked the notion of a series of code words used in telephone conversations,
but called the idea foolish.
"My phone was tapped for around six months," he explained. "[The police]
played me tapes of my conversations, including those with Bogdan Madejak.
They tried to assemble the idea that we were using a special language
with which we discussed the trafficking of doping products. That's stupid."
Rutkiewicz bemoaned the French doping investigators, and the "hysteria"
which surrounds such cases. Despite reports that he admitted to interrogators
the presence of banned substances in his luggage, Rutkiewicz's statements
to his national press in Poland indicate that the case has only just begun,
and the level of implication of the various figures involved remains to
UCI anti-doping news: Sun Tour tests negative
The UCI has declared that all of the drug tests taken from the 2003 Herald
Sun Tour were negative for banned substances. The UCI and the organisers
of the Sun Tour confirmed this to Cyclingnews last week. The delay
in finalising the test results occurred after the Australian Sports Drug
Association (ASDA) reported an "irregular sample" (a rider's testosterone/etiocholanolone
ratio was greater than 6) in its initial testing. This required further
analysis by the UCI's laboratory, which reported that "the absolute values
of androsterone and etiocholanolone were within normal reference range."
Thus, the test was negative and the UCI doesn't consider this a doping
violation. Some riders produce more of the substances naturally, and in
this case the high T/E ratio was not found to be a result of ingestion
In other news from the UCI's anti-doping commission, the following riders
have been sanctioned for doping offences:
Miguel Juan Adrover Rigo, penalised by the Federación Española
de Ciclismo, disqualification from the Cinturón a Mallorca (Spa),
on the 5th of April 2003, and 2 year ban from the 10th of September 2003
to 9th of September 2005.
Wang Qian, penalised by the Cycling Association of China, warning.
Florian Moser, penalised by the Österreichischer Radsport Verband,
disqualification from the Trofeo Karlsberg (GER) on the 21st of June 2003,
and 3 month ban from the 8th of October 2003 to 8th of April 2004.
Patrick Kofler, penalised by the Österreichischer Radsport Verband,
disqualification from the 2003 Tour of Slovenia, 2 year ban from the 8th
of October 2003 to 8th of October 2005 and a fine of CHF 2,000.
Francisco Perez (Milaneza Maia) has been handed an 18 month suspension
for two positive EPO tests following his two stage victories in the 2003
Tour de Romandie. The Portuguese cycling federation handed down the suspension,
which Perez has announced he will appeal.
New team director for Bik-Powerplate
The Bik-Powerplate team has hired Lars Verboom to replace Ton Vrolijk
as team director, ANP reports. Vrolijk was sacked just over a week ago
by the team's administration, and team director Frank van der Goes also
left at the same time. Verboom is the former director of the Dutch national
women's team, has spent time with the American national team, and prior
to that with the Erotic Discount Centre amateur squad.
Dessel finds perfect sponsor
Cyril Dessel is perhaps the only hearing-impaired professional cyclist
in the European peloton, but this year he has found the ideal sponsor.
With a move to Phonak Hearing Systems from Jean Delatour, the 29 year
old Frenchman will not only race for better hearing (as the Phonak saying
goes), he may just race with better hearing.
As speaker Daniel Mangeas quipped at the team's presentation Friday,
"Cyril goes from being the rider who heard the least in the peloton to
the rider who will hear the most."
Dessel, professional since 2000, cracked the top ten in the 2003 Dauphiné
Lecaër joins Lapierre
French DH champion Nolwenn Lecaër will race for Team Lapierre International
for 2004. Lecaër was world champion in 1992 and 1996, European Champion
in 1995 1996, and claimed the bronze medal at the 2003 World's. She will
ride the Black DH bike from the Lapierre/Vouilloz series.
Mtbchick.com, a mountain bike web site for women, has announced its 2004
professional team. Joining mtbchick.com founder Tonya Laffey are Sandi
Bloomer, Hana Fiserova and Cindi Hansen. The team is completed with a
duo of pro marathon racers, Mara Abbott and Jessica Kisiel.
The team will race at the NORBA National Mountain Bike Race Series and
selected AMBC races in the U.S.. The marathon team will compete in the
National Marathon series as well as selected 24 Hour races and other ultra
mtbchick.com is going into its third year as a pro team. In addition
to offering a place for women (and men) to find information about mountain
biking, mtbchick.com produces mountain bike clinics for women and juniors,
and volunteers with underprivileged children. Mtbchick.com is offering
free mountain bike clinics at the 2004 NORBA National Mountain Bike Series
races, as well as a series of one and two-day camps. For more information
about the clinics, visit www.mtbchick.com.
Sandra Bloomer (USA)
Hana Fiserova (Cze)
Cindi Hansen (USA)
Tonya Laffey (USA)
Mara Abbott (USA)(marathon)
Jessica Kisiel (USA)(marathon)
Manager: Troy Laffey
Mechanics: Troy Laffey, Ken Kisiel
Coaching Sports Boulder
PowerBar. Be Great.
Victory Circle Graphic
Supporting Companies: CatEye, Terry Bicycles, Nite Rider
Connacht Training Camp
By Shane Stokes, Irishcycling.com
Cycling Ireland youth development officer Padraig Marrey and the Connacht
Cycling Federation committee are coming together to run a two day coaching
and training camp at the Club Atlantic Hostel in Westport. Taking place
on January 31st and February 1st, the camp is open to all categories.
Riders from outside the province are also welcome.
The cost for the weekend will be €50 for seniors, which covers one
night bed and breakfast and all meals. Riders under 16 will benefit from
a grant from the underage commission, leading to a cost of €30. To
attend the camp, riders must wear a helmet on rides and have applied for
a 2004 Cycling Ireland licence. A letter from club secretaries stating
that licence forms have been sent in will suffice. One day licences will
also be available.
The camp will also be used to select under 16 riders for the National
camp to be held at the National Coaching and Training Centre in Limerick
on the weekend of February 14th and 15th.
More information is available from club secretaries or from Padraig Marrey,
who can be contacted by email at email@example.com or by phone at
087-7992857. The closing date for return of entries is Monday the 26th
Program of events:
Sign in 10.00-11.00am
Camp Guidelines 11.00-11.15am
Cycle spin for all categories 11.00am-2.00pm
Performance Profiling 3.15-4.30pm
Bike Maintenance 4.45-6.00pm
Stretching Methods 7.30-9.00pm
Cycle spin for all categories 10.00-2.00pm
Training to Compete 3.20-4.00pm
Close and Pack up 4.30pm
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